project home

Why does a project home cost the same as a renovation?

If you’ve progressed any way at all down the renovation path, you would have discovered pretty quickly that it’s fairly easy to get to $250,000 without trying too hard. That kind of money will get you a ground-floor extension, but it might not cover re-doing your ensuite as well. Which is hard to understand when you flick through the Sunday papers and see page after page of project home after project home being offered for $250,000. That’s a four-bedroom, two-bathroom family home for the same price as a large living room and a kitchen reno. Whaaaaat?


Sydney renovations

Who do you need on your renovating team?


If you’ve been playing along with The Builderette for a while, you know that I’m a big believer in a renovating or building project being a team effort. Everyone needs to be working towards the same goal and to the same game plan. If they’re not, that’s when things can go off track. And when things go off track in a renovation, it can get stressful and expensive pretty quickly. So, who do you need on your renovating team?


23 things that are more fun than renovating


You’ve heard me say it before, but undertaking a renovation or large building project (or sometimes even a small one) can be stressful. So I thought I’d put together a list of activities that are more fun than renovating just to, you know, take your mind off things.


  1. Stubbing your toe
  2. Getting a paper cut
  3. Coming back to your car to discover that you have a parking ticket
  4. Doing all your supermarket shopping and then realising, when you get to the checkout, that you don’t have your wallet

How to defy gravity

I heard a wonderful interview with engineer Bill Lawson on a podcast the other day (Richard Fidler’s Conversations) where he talked about how engineering is really the art of defying gravity. I thought this was such a wonderful way to describe a science that’s all about working out how to keep heavy things from collapsing. Which is something that builders are pretty interested in too.


we love small building jobs

Why we love small building jobs


When I first met JD about seven years ago, as a residential builder he was focussing on larger renovations and the occasional new, luxury home. Saw the movie, got the t-shirt. Now, our focus is on small building jobs and here’s why:


We like helping people

It’s true – JD really likes helping people come up with building solutions that are within their budget and that will add value to their lifestyle and/or their home. The solution to your problem may not be a big, expensive renovation, but that’s what a lot of builders prefer to work on. We like the smaller stuff.

rental property

5 simple ways to renovate a rental property

If you live in one of Australia’s capital cities you’ve probably noticed that real estate has been a little out of control lately (Sydney, I’m looking at you!). Prices have gone through the roof and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get onto that first rung of the property ladder unless you’ve got generous parents or win the lottery (if you’re looking in Sydney you’ll probably need both!). Which leaves you with staying at home (not my bag and not an option for a lot of people) or renting.


dream design

When a dream design becomes a real-life nightmare


Let me tell you a story. It’s a cautionary tale and one you should pay attention to if you’re thinking about a renovation. Especially a big renovation. 


Once upon a time, we were watching Grand Designs (well, just the other night) when we suddenly realised the featured house was currently for sale, in fact, my sister had pointed it out to me a couple of months ago. You see, in addition to cooking, sewing and reading my other hobby is looking at real estate – usually in Hobart, where we have vague dreams of retiring one day. One of my sisters lives down there and she occasionally flicks me houses I might be interested in. This one was listed at $5million plus, putting it not only in “total fantasy” territory for us but also at the top of the range for Tasmanian real estate in general.

The reverse curve of happiness

I stumbled across this blog post while trawling the interweb recently and it made me smile (in a pained kind of way). You see, it’s the customer’s version of what JD likes to call The Reverse Curve of Happiness (henceforth known as TRCH).


TRCH is easily represented on an XY axis where X represents time and Y represents happiness and the cosin is oh, never mind, I was hopeless at calculus at school and TRCH is really simple to understand without any maths at all. Think of an upside-down bell curve.


renovate to sell

How to renovate to sell

Not surprisingly, I love watching real estate and renovating shows – really, it’s the only reason we’ve kept Foxtel (well, that and the golf). Give me a marathon viewing session involving Andrew, Charlie and Shayna from Selling Houses Australia and I am one happy Builderette. Time and again they show us what you can achieve if you make some sensible decisions about what to renovate to sell your house quickly and for the right price (step one – tidy up FFS!).