It came to her in a dream – a vision of renovating a St Kilda apartment into that perfect seaside-suburb home in just 30 days. “Everyone said it was impossible which just made us want to do it even more,” says Nicole Chapman, director at Empire Interiors. The apartment was run down, 100 years-old, and required a full “gutting” before any work could begin.  How did she do it? Nicole reveals her 5 tips for a fast and successful reno:

#1 Have a clear vision
Create a clear vision for your desired outcome. Create mood boards and lock in your selections before the demo begins.

#2 Plan your trades early
Line up your trades well ahead of time to ensure a smooth transition between each stage of installation.
#3 Get everyone on the same page
Communicate the vision with everyone along the way. Leave notes onsite, draw diagrams on walls, text confirmations and make phone calls to all of the trades involved as you go.
#4 Trust yourself
Trust your vision. With so many different trades involved you will be told that things are impossible or can’t be done a certain way. Stick to your guns and maintain the end goal of the design in your mind and communicate that vision.
#5 Go with the flow
It is part and parcel of a renovation that things will be held up or items not available. Be flexible in your approach and accept that when things don’t work out exactly as planned they often work out even better than your original idea.


A snapshot of Nicole’s reno:

The design process involved detailed concept boards with an intuitive selection of a muted and calm palette. 

Throughout the home there is a combination of traditional interiors mixed with a free-spirit essence – Nicole calls it “Boheme Luxe”.

Want more? Check out this traditional cottage revamp:



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