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8 Inspiring Before + After Transformations That Blew Us Away In 2022!

Interiors

There’s no greater inspiration than an incredible ‘before and after’ transformation. Last year we saw some truly stunning renovations – in some cases completed by the owners themselves, including a tiny apartment makeover – and a full garden overhaul! 

We’ve rounded up eight of the best ‘before and after’ success stories to inspire your next project!

4th January, 2023

The renovated apartment of academic Laura Schuijers in north-east Melbourne. Photography – Amelia Stanwix

Framed beaded artwork by Camille Laddawan. Bright geometric palms artwork by Nina Sepahpour. Reframed vintage 1970s paintings purchased from Waverley Antique Bazaar. Photography – Amelia Stanwix

‘I chose plywood for the cabinets and benchtops. Ply was a sustainable choice for my space, and I decided to leave it raw and oil it myself with a natural hard wax oil rather than opt for a veneer or coating,’ says Laura. Photography – Amelia Stanwix

‘Every single shelf dimension was designed specifically to fit both the space and the things I wanted to put on display, like my cookbooks and tea jars,’ says Laura. Photography – Amelia Stanwix

Photograph by Natalie Karpushenko. Photography – Amelia Stanwix

The before shots!

See How This First-Time Renovator Transformed Her Pint-Sized Melbourne Apartment

This 1970s Alphington, Melbourne apartment had great bones just brimming with potential… all it needed was a new owner to bring the space to life. 

That owner was academic Laura Schuijers — a first-time renovator who designed and project managed the apartment’s recent transformation, creating an enviable home with custom-made plywood cabinetry, a hand-built bath, and clever storage solutions.

Laura really has thought of EVERYTHING in this renovation, from a tailored lighting scheme down to hidden space to store her rock climbing gear in the 34 square metre home. 

Read the full story here.

Hughes Parade is a renovation of a 1960s kitchen in Reservoir, Melbourne. Laminate from Laminex. Tiles from Academy Tiles. Stone by WK Quantum Quartz. Appliances by Fisher & Paykel. Tapware by ABI Interiors. Photography – Joel Noon

‘The aesthetic of the kitchen was to reflect this original era of the home in its prime, specifically the period between the 1960s and 1980s with a 2020s twist,’ says Matthew James, design Manager at M.J. Harris Group. Laminate from Laminex. Tiles from Academy Tiles. Stone by WK Quantum Quartz. Appliances by Fisher & Paykel. Tapware by ABI Interiors. Photography – Joel Noon

Rich laminate (Natural Teak by Laminex) was selected as the hero material, softened by glossy moss green tiles on the splashback and pillar supporting the extended kitchen bench. Laminate from Laminex. Tiles from Academy Tiles. Stone by WK Quantum Quartz. Appliances by Fisher & Paykel. Tapware by ABI Interiors. Photography – Joel Noon

A New Kitchen Designed To Look Old, With No White Joinery In Sight! 

The brief for this renovation outlined two fairly uncommon requirements for a modern kitchen. The space needed to ‘look old’, and have zero white joinery in sight! 

Drawing on the established residential character of the surrounding Reservoir, Melbourne area, M.J. Harris Group updated the kitchen for modern functionality, while visually portraying an older aesthetic in keeping with its 1960s origins.

Read the full story here.

Our whole kitchen redesign was inspired by this Lucy Roleff painting. Also pictured here –Moroccan Pink Zellige tiles from Tiles of Ezra, Rojo Alicante marble from Daniels’ Marble House, Chopping Board by TS Makers kitchen cabinets in American Oak veneer built by Gordon Johnson, cabinetry handles by Linear Standard. Styling – Annie Portelli, Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Kitchen wall built using Surround by Laminex Batten 25 panelling painted in Dulux Clay CourtMoroccan Pink Zellige tiles from Tiles of Ezra, bench tops are Rojo Alicante marble from Daniels’ Marble House, ceiling paint is Dulux Piglet, kitchen cabinets in American Oak veneer built by Gordon Johnson, cabinetry handles by Linear Standard., kitchen tap is the Scala curved sink mixer by Sussex Taps in brushed gunmetal, available exclusively from Reece. Styling – Annie Portelli, Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

The TDF Office’s Dreamy Kitchen Renovation! 

The TDF team has been based in our beloved Collingwood office for about six years, and it had a very basic and boring kitchen when we first moved in. But after renewing the lease post-lockdown, it was finally time for a kitchen upgrade – complete with pink Moroccan tiles, a marble benchtop, integrated appliances and new timber joinery.

If we do say so ourselves – we’re pretty chuffed with this transformation!

Read the full story here.

Kate Shanasy’s new garden is an entertainer’s coastal delight! Photo – Kate Shanasy.

Dichondra (convolvulaceae) is planted between the pavers for ground cover. Photo – Kate Shanasy.

Kate created meandering paths through the garden with Eagle Point Dust. Photo – Kate Shanasy.

BEFORE: The garden was inaccessible and overgrown. Photo – Kate Shanasy.

A Young Photographer Transforms Her Rambling Coastal Garden In One Week!

With a little help from her friends, photographer Kate Shanasy totally transformed her jungle-like garden in Blairgowrie, Victoria, into an entertainer’s coastal delight – in just one week!

Inspired by designer Fiona Brockoff’s Sorrento garden (‘just around the corner’), Kate swapped finger grasses and overgrown ivy for sand grit, boulders and native plants. 

Read the full story here.

Christopher Cassidy and David James’ apartment in St Kilda East. Photo – Sean Fennessey

Artwork by John Santucci. Photo – Sean Fennessey

‘The space had an original 1940s cosy little breakfast nook and some beautiful V-groove timber cabinetry that we loved. Instead of tearing these elements out and replacing them, we had a carpenter refurbish them.’ Artwork by Darren Thompson. Photo – Sean Fennessey

The before shots! Photos – Christopher Cassidy

A Gorgeous Owner-Designed Renovation Of A 1950s Melbourne Apartment

Christopher Cassidy and David James bought an apartment in a great 1950s St Kilda East building, only the interiors were mouldy with asbestos linoleum and creamy yellow paint concealed the beautiful original features.

The couple quickly embarked on some simple updates to make the property liveable, before designing and project managing an extensive renovation over 18 months. 

Timeless new flooring and sympathetic colour pay tribute to the original architecture while introducing the Melbourne home to a new era. 

Read the full story here. 

Inside the renovated Havana House in Ashgrove, Brisbane. Photo – Cieran Murphy. Styling – – Studio Lala

The beautiful kitchen now features a bright and happy yellow splashback with two-toned square tiles! Photo – Cieran Murphy. Styling — Studio Lala

A striped, floor-to-ceiling curtain helps update the living room. Photo – Cieran Murphy. Styling – Studio Lala

The project is also Ally’s first, full-scale residential project as her interiors firm, Studio LaLa! Photo – Cieran Murphy. Styling – Studio Lala

A Dated 70s Home Gets A Sunshine Yellow New Look

Before its perfectly retro refresh, this Queensland abode was run down and in dire need of a renovation to bring it back to life.

The owner – who’s in his 70s – had also never lived with colour or pattern. But a few meetings with interior designer Ally Giovine ofStudio Lala quickly revealed his love for bright and playful interiors.

Together, they’ve sympathetically transformed the 1970s residence, filling it with pops of colour, personality, and an adorable yellow splashback in the kitchen!

Read the full story here.

Surround by Laminex French Stripe 30 profile.Paint colour Dulux Sky Eyes. Wall art by Hannah Maskell. Top Shelf, left to right: Coloured stacker boxes from HAY. Hard Shell Cases from Milligram. Terrazzo eye sculpture on loan from Sean Meilak. Ceramic containers from Design Stuff. Chim Chim oil diffuser by HAY. Green sculpture on loan from Sean Mealik. Green eye sculpture on loan from Sean Meilak. Coloured stacker boxes from HAY. Blue hour glass from Milligram. Bottom Shelf, left to right: Coloured stacker boxes from HAY. Red metal briefcase from Cult Design. Mini Cooper Lego car belongs to homeowner. Wooden face sculpture from Cult Design. Coloured notebooks from Milligram. Striped artwork by Emmanuelle McGlade. Oil burner from Design Stuff. Checkered ceramic vase by Lucy Tolan. Yellow concrete sculpture on loan from Sean Meilak.  Green drink bottle from Frank Green. Hand sculpture from HAY. Marble sculpture on loan from Sean Meilak. Vintage Eames desk chairs. Cardboard bin from DesignStuff. Kartell Componibili Storage Units from SPACE. Togo couch from DOMO. Zara Rug by TSAR Carpets. Custom shelving and desk by Gordon Johnson. Metal work by Huw Smith. Photos – Eve Wilson, Styling – Lucy Feagins, Art Direction – Annie Portelli.

Surround by Laminex French Stripe 30 profile. Paint colour Dulux Sky Eyes. Chim Chim oil diffuser by HAY. Green sculpture on loan from Sean Meilak. Stackable boxes from HAY. Blue hour glass from Milligram.  Wooden face sculpture from Cult Design. Coloured notebooks from Milligram. Striped artwork by Emmanuelle McGlade. Oil burner from Design Stuff. Checkered ceramic vase by Lucy Tolan. Concrete yellow stair sculpture on loan from Sean Mealik. Slant table lamp by HAY. Geometric organizer by HAY. Ceramic pencil holder by Ella Rewetti. Vintage Eames desk chair. Kartell Componibili Storage Units from SPACE. Togo couch from DOMO. Zara Rug by TSAR Carpets. Custom shelving and desk by Gordon Johnson. Metal work by Huw Smith. Photos – Eve Wilson, Styling – Lucy Feagins, Art Direction – Annie Portelli.

Surround by Laminex French Stripe 30 profile. Paint colour Dulux Sky Eyes. Wall art by Hannah Maskell. Vintage Eames desk chair. Timber organizer by HAY. Geometric organizer by HAY. Zara Rug by TSAR Carpets. Custom shelving and desk by Gordon Johnson. Metal work by Huw Smith. Photos – Eve Wilson, Styling – Lucy Feagins, Art Direction – Annie Portelli.

A Kids’ Playroom Transformed Into A Stylish Study

As part of our One Room Wonders series, in partnership with Surround by Laminex, we get to do our very own ‘before and after’ transformations – and this one really was an absolute favourite in the TDF office!

We transformed a simple kids’ playroom into a stylish home office that will last well into teenage years, and beyond. In fact, it turned out so nicely, we think it would make a pretty perfect home office for grown-ups, too! 

Watch the transformation here.

Seasoned renovator and professional designer, Rachel Collard transformed her beach shack into cute holiday accomodation! Photo – Spacecraft. Styling – R&Co.Design.Studio

Couch from House of Orange. Bonelay coffee table bought from Facebook marketplace. Shaggy cushion and cocktail glasses from Fenton & Fenton. Pot from Dot+Pop. Wall colour: Quarter Blush by Porter’s Paints. Photo – Spacecraft. Styling – R&Co.Design.Studio

Joinery by Haven Kitchens. Stone benchtop from Essastone benchtops. Patterned tiles from Perini Tiles. Kitchen appliances from Residentia Group and InAlto. Cabinets colour: Black Blue by Porter’s Paints. Photo – Spacecraft. Styling – R&Co.Design.Studio

See How This Simple Beach Shack Was Transformed In Just 6 Weeks! 

Already a seasoned renovator and professional designer, Rachel Collard has outdone herself in the creation of her holiday home and accommodation, Miss Morris, on the Mornington Peninsula.

Previously a simple beach shack with whitewashed interiors and a dated kitchen, Rachel transformed the Mount Martha property in just six weeks while managing her work as a designer and being a mother of three in Melbourne.

The renovation is a celebration of colour and nostalgia that balances space, intimacy, and character with subtle hints to the beach opposite.

Read the full story here.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net