WORDS Persephone Nicholas
When Melainie (Lainie) Cameron met Rachel Whitford of Refresh Renovations in Brisbane she was looking to create a good-looking, hardwearing bathroom for her Old Queenslander home in the Brisbane suburb of Deagon.
She wanted a space that would suit her family’s needs and could also work well for guests. As Rachel and Lainie worked their way through Refresh Renovations’ unique five-stage process and ideas and plans took shape, Lainie decided to make the most of the renovation and create a laundry in the bathroom too.
Lainie’s existing bathroom contained a dated over-bath shower, as well as an old cupboard that had been used for storing linens. There were also other issues to address; there was little or no ventilation so heat and steam couldn’t escape and the skillion roof meant the ceiling was very low on one side of the room.
Lainie was clear on her priorities.
‘The bathroom was functional but old and I had a particular hatred for the shower over the bath. I also wanted a proper laundry upstairs,’ she says.
While Lainie was looking forward to replacing the old bath and 80s style vanity, there were elements she wanted to preserve.
‘Some bits of the existing bathroom were really beautiful,’ she says and she asked Rachel to retain the existing cream and deep red floor tiles.
As project manager for the renovation, Rachel had to hunt down tiles that would complement the existing floor to ensure a cohesive and consistent look.
‘Trying to find an exact match to the traditional tiles Lainie wanted to keep was a big challenge. We opted for a very close match on the walls and in the bath and shower area we used a plain tile in a very similar heritage red that tied in well. I did a lot of research to make sure we got it right and it became quite a project tracking them down, particularly as it all had to happen fairly quickly, but we were determined to get it right,’ she says.
Rachel is delighted she made the renovation process easier for Lainie.
‘Having me as project manager meant Lainie didn’t have to rush around sourcing things herself, she could just say: ‘Rachel this is what I want,’ and I’d show her the things I found. I provided a one-stop shop and she only had to deal with me. That convenience factor is huge - busy people really appreciate it.’
She says having a project manager on the job is cost effective and helps ensure a quality result.
‘There can be as many as 10 to 12 different trades on a job and products coming from multiple sources - it’s a lot to deal with. Sometimes people like to supply things themselves, but we have better buying power so even though we have to cover our costs and our time, our customers are usually better off than if they’d sourced things themselves.’
Lainie also benefited from the creative thinking of Rachel’s builder, Wayne Fullard, who suggested converting the existing cupboard into a concealed laundry and building a false ceiling to make space for venting out the dryer. This was a perfect solution for Lainie as her Old Queenslander home had a ceiling height of 2.7m, (compared with today’s standard of 2.4m) so there was scope to reduce the ceiling height without compromising on headroom.
‘Improving the slanting roof turned out well,’ says Rachel. ‘Most houses of that era have higher ceilings so there was enough allowance to put in a false ceiling. It looks so much better tidied up.’
Using plantation style shutters to hide the laundry area and conceal the aluminium window helped create a fresh, clean look that blends old and new.
With the project completed on time and within her $21,000 budget, Lainie couldn’t be happier with her new bathroom and laundry space.
‘The bath is big enough for two and there’s even a spot to put your wine glass. The walk in shower is great too. The laundry is a functional workspace but it completely disappears behind the shutters when you’re not using it. It’s really clean and tidy.’
Looking back on the project, Lainie says working with Rachel took the pressure out of renovating.
‘Working with Rachel really took the stress out of it. Whenever there was a question, she’d pick up the phone so I was always in the loop. It didn’t cost me more, it cost about the same as doing it myself, but I didn’t waste time worrying or spend hours choosing stuff. When you walk into Bunnings or Beaumont Tiles there’s an enormous amount of choice and too much choice is as stressful as not enough. Rachel was really good at making short lists of options for me. She listened, communicated clearly and she stuck to the budget I gave her. I really enjoyed working with her.’
The focus of Refresh Renovations is on delivering excellent customer service and value by incorporating design and using world class systems and processes. If you're thinking of renovating or looking for a builder, talk to Refresh at 1800 33 60 33 or enquire online.
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