PEARSON + PROJECTS, a home for projects, ideas and inspiration for DIY enthusiasts, home makers and renovators.
Brought to you by Alice + Caleb Pearson, husband and wife duo, winners of The Block NZ 2013. Learn more about our story here.
We offer a wide range of consulting services for renovations. We love to use our skill set to help others in their property adventures, so please email us at email@example.com for more information.
For information about Alice's Home Staging and Interior Styling services, go to NEST Stage and Style or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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A common question that we get asked by friends who follow our renovation journey is: WHY? As in why would you consider regularly renovating and give up a significant amount of your spare time? Answering that completely would be a whole blog in itself – but simply because we love it. One of the things I love is the decisiveness required to renovate, there is a skill to making decisions in renovating and experience provides opportunity to develop that. While this is a small-scale renovation, there are still a whole lot of interior design decisions that that took us from Our Plan to Our Presentation.
I am a big believer in designing homes and spaces that cater for the way you want to live. A few months ago we got started on a small project to transform our rumpus room into a home office and kids play room, as well as a storage space for my home staging business. We don't just want more room, we want to transform the way we live. Clever interior design isn’t about making spaces pretty or buying few cushions and doing the “chop”, it is about transforming spaces that encourage living the way you want to live.
It was a simple plan, to renovate an existing area to create workspace and the kids to play all on a minimal budget. The to do list was set: give the walls a new coat of paint, install some flooring, lights and blinds. It was then we realised the walls were lined with MDF, leaks through windows, new guttering was required and very few walls were straight. This is where renovation gets difficult and frustrating, when what you expected isn’t the reality. It is here where you need to pause and reset, regardless of what the original plan was - re-evaluate and determine what the new plan is going to be.
Our next renovation would fit nicely into a House Rules structure – we have our house renovated, we have our outdoors renovated (come on summer) and now we have a rumpus space as our final project. I have been dreaming of this for over a year. The rumpus room had been converted by the previous owner and has served as storage for my home staging furniture and décor. Ultimately though I wanted to makeover the space to create my own home office and a play area for the kids, while still using half the space for storage.
Property investment is not for everyone. It’s also not a guarantee to create instant wealth overnight, or an answer to financial issues. Although there are many stories of the opportunities which property can provide. I have put together my five top tips to set yourself up to buy well from a property investment perspective.
I couldn’t stand in the house a moment longer - the smell was overwhelming. We had been to long lists of open homes and Caleb had been focusing on some select suburbs trying to find the next project for us. I got to see some things I would rather have unseen - inappropriate drawings on walls, bedrooms that feel very “fifty shades of grey” (I don’t mean the wall colour), hoarding. But this was the most memorable of them all. At the open home we entered a room with a male tenant laying across a bed in the lounge, shirtless, smoking, who said we had to keep the door closed as there were four cats who weren’t allowed outside. I counted 8 litter boxes - though from the smell I could tell it wasn't the only place these cats relieved themselves. I stood outside trying not to vomit, Caleb looked at me not sure what to expect and was getting ready to start his sales pitch.
When an agent called me about a property near where we lived that could be a great opportunity - I was naturally curious. A few phone calls, a few visits, a week later and I had placed an offer on the property. A little back and forth with the vendor and the property under contract with 5 days to make sure all was ok to go ahead. Oh, and work out exactly what we had just done and make a plan.
When we first started renovating we were complete rookies. While Caleb knew about property from his studies and beginning his career in project management, he had very limited understanding when it came to DIY or anything practical. And while I had a natural intuition with design and colour scheming, I had no idea about interior design techniques or where to source the products I liked. To sum it up - we had a youthful confidence which is probably best described as pure ignorance. Normally within a blog we would share details of our renovation to provide inspiration and advice - but this is more of an example of what not to do! Our first renovation project was our “boot camp” in renovating - and boy did we realise we weren’t “renovation fit”.
The story of buying our first house together is best shared as a tale of “she said, he said”. Because to say we had a difference in experiences and expectations - would be an understatement. We didn’t begin our property story as a united force, though there was a lot of forceful emotions involved! So as unconventional as our story about Caleb buying a first house is, the way we started ours “together” may be just as surprising...