Written by Belinda Blackburn

I was passionate about improving my home!

Despite having lots of windows in an open plan design, the space still felt dark from the timber-look lino and black kitchen benchtop.

When we decided to undertake the renovation I knew that I wanted to make it bright and welcoming; consequently, the entire house was gutted!  The dark flooring was removed and replaced with a light vinyl planking; walls were repainted; and a new bathroom, toilet and laundry were installed. We got it all!

We were so excited to see the improvements evolve and enhance the living spaces.


I researched for many hours and found most of my inspiration online. I then created virtual mood boards before finally deciding on a style that I loved and could commit to.

We designed the kitchen so that white was the dominant colour palette, and used black accents and marble benchtop to create a beautiful contrast.

Sparkmans Cabinetry made it all come to life and I thank them for their patience with my back and forth decision making! Reece Plumbing were the suppliers for all our beautiful kitchen and bathroom products (including appliances), and I absolutely love how it turned out.


It was hard to keep track of the timeline as the whole house was being renovated at the same time. There were lots of people to navigate including the builder, plumber, plasterer, electrician, tiler, floor layers, painter, and cabinetmaker. In total, the renovation took approximately 10 weeks.


The best advice I can offer to anyone else undertaking a renovation project is to plan, plan, plan! Be prepared for setbacks and things not always going right. It’s going to happen no matter how well you have organised everything, but it’s all worth it in the end!

Happy renovating and good luck in this year’s competition!


Written by: Danielle Straatmans, SE Plumbing

You’ve decided to renovate your kitchen or bathroom, congrats! At this stage it’s safe to assume you have savings set aside, an idea of what you’d like to change, and you’re ready to take the next step. Since both kitchens and bathrooms involve water, you’re going to need a plumber. But who should you go with and what should you look out for?


When engaging a plumber for your next kitchen or bathroom renovation, ensure you select a fully licensed and insured contractor with a good reputation. You want to deal with a company that will be in the local area for years to come, who offers coverage to protect you, your family and your home. These companies will generally have a quality guarantee, will happily follow up replacement parts when required, and will assist to have a faulty item replaced under warranty, free of charge, if they initially provided the supply and install.


If you’re on a budget, it’s best to leave the fixtures in the existing location to minimise the cost of relocating pipework. If you do choose to change the layout, engage a plumber first, to ensure your water and drain locations are feasible. Otherwise, it can add additional time and costs to the renovation.


Select quality tapware and fixtures with good warranties that have readily available replacement parts, especially with in-wall fixtures. Remember, the cheapest option isn’t always the most cost-effective in the long run. Eventually, flick mixer cartridges will fail, inlet and outlet toilet valves will become faulty, and pop-up plugs will seize. If these replacement parts can’t be sourced, you may need to replace the entire fixture or pay excessive fees to find a similar after-market part. Many reputable plumbing suppliers such as Reece Plumbing, Tradelink and Kens Plumbing offer a great range of options.

Once all of these items are considered, you’re ready to renovate your kitchen and bathroom! Enjoy the process, and remember to take Before and After photos so can reflect on your renovation journey and enter #renovate4680 next year!