Dream Home judge and Three Birds Renovations co-owner Lana Taylor reveals her top renovation tips

Raquel de Brito
The Nightly
5 Min Read
Dream Home judge and Three Birds Renovations co-owner Lana Taylor
Dream Home judge and Three Birds Renovations co-owner Lana Taylor Credit: Supplied

The COVID-era renovations boom may have waned in the wake of relentless interest rate hikes and cost of living woes but that doesn’t mean homeowners aren’t still itching to upgrade their interiors.

With Channel Seven’s brand new renovating reality program, Dream Home, reaching an impressive 2.25 million viewers for its debut, it’s fair to assume would-be renovators are taking notes and biding their time until they can once again loosen the purse strings.

According to Dream Home judge and Three Birds Renovations co-owner Lana Taylor, renovation enthusiasts are doing well to tune in now, even if their own upgrade aspirations are on hold because she believes homeowners should be giving themselves a solid year to properly plan a big project.

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While the contestants on the show — which follows six pairs of rookie renovators as they transform suburban homes into dreamy new properties — aren’t granted the luxury of such extensive planning, Taylor said it is a step even they can’t afford to skip, albeit in a more condensed way.

With the first house reveals — airing on Sunday — set to reignite Australia’s love home improvements, Taylor has offered homeowners her top tips to execute a dream renovation.

Dream Home judges Lana Taylor, Simon Cohen and Rosie Morley.
Dream Home judges Lana Taylor, Simon Cohen and Rosie Morley. Credit: Supplied

Educate Yourself

It’s not very sexy, but a key thing is to educate yourself.

If you just go in guns blazing, you may well find yourself in over your head and that is not a great place to be for anybody, particularly in the current environment of increasing costs.

People absolutely have to spend every dollar wisely. That’s why with Three Birds we have our online reno school, specifically to educate people on all the things they need to consider before they book one single trade. Because once you start booking the tradies, it can get out of hand really quickly.

Extensive Planning

Plan, plan and plan. So we often recommend spending maybe a year planning out a reno before you have the tradies turn up on site — that is ideal.

I mean, certainly, six months, but a lot of people think they can just start planning maybe a month out or two months out but that is going to put enormous pressure on the quality of the quotes you can get. And if you don’t get quality quotes, then you’re going to get a budget blowout, which is again, very distressing in this environment.

So it’s all about taking the right planning steps to ensure you’re ready to renovate in a way that you do it within your budget, and you actually get the result you want. Because a lot of people might even do it within budget, but they’re like, ‘I didn’t think the roofline was going look like that’, or ‘my alfresco area is half the size it was supposed to be’ and that’s wasted money as well.

Even though(the contestants don’t have a year, even if they only have an hour to plan or two hours to plan a space, they need to make sure they really do that planning element of it, and not be trying to design on the run, because you’ll end up making mistakes.

Create a clear vision board

You absolutely have to spend time — and this is part of the time you would spend in that build-up to renovating — creating a really clear vision board of what your home should look and feel like.

If you’re like, ‘Well, I don’t know, I’ve got no idea what my home should look like’, try and learn a little bit about the architectural style of the existing home you’re in. Some homes absolutely have architectural history, and that may well steer you in a certain direction where you lean into that. And you’ll find it easier to bring that style to life.

And if you’re trying to achieve a completely opposite style to the architectural heritage of your home or if you have a home with no endearing features, wonderful, it’s a blank canvas. So then what you want to do is think about what type of a home you love.

Spend your time on things like Pinterest, and Instagram, watching a show like Dream Home, and try and start to collect pictures of houses that you like the look of. And then you need to try and start to put similar pictures together.

If they are all very different-looking pictures, you need to start to choose your preference — you can’t have it all you need to start to make choices and pull them together on a vision board. Not one vision board for your whole home but do one for every room. What’s the vision board for your kitchen? What’s the vision board for your main bedroom, that type of thing?

Don’t chase trends

Trying to do what’s on trend is a very slippery slope. And before you know it, the house will be outdated before you’ve even finished it. At Three Birds, we have never endorsed chasing trends, we talk about creating a vision board that you love and that suits your home. And then it’s timeless.

Aim for better, not perfect

It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing if you can’t afford an elaborate renovation.

You can absolutely make a home, look, feel and function differently with cosmetic changes, be it a whole fresh coat of paint on a house, inside and out, new flooring or just focusing on your kitchen.

A piece of advice we always give is; don’t let perfect get in the way of better. Just make your home a bit better because if you’re waiting for perfection, you could be waiting forever. I think it’s better if you can do what you can afford what is within your means and it might only be one room in the house. Well, that’s better than none and it should be adding value to your home.

The first Dream Home reveal airs on Sunday at 7pm on Channel 7 and 7plus.


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