This is where you find all the important information to make your renovation or interior design project a success.

How to make over a Bathroom on a Budget



This older home's bathroom in the original part of the home, was showing its years- the shower base was like a 'Roman Bath' sunk into the floor with a step down, as you might see in an older seventies bathroom. There was an old yellowing, plastic toilet and old fittings and a federation style, dark wood vanity with doors that no longer suited the room.

The skylight had long since been blocked off and there was no natural light, but the shaft for the former skylight remained intact. There was a single small light in the high ceiling which wasn't enough to see. The mirror was rusted on the edges and the vanity top was stained and cracked.

There were fairly new taps and a shower head installed just prior, but the rest of the room let it down. The square shaped floor of the shower jutted into the room and the floor tiles were tiny old mosaics, like the old seventies bathrooms you see often have.

See some photos of how this tired old 70's bathroom looked before our plan to make it over on a tight budget.

It really was an eyesore and the Roman bath really showed its old age.




This bathroom was to become the parent's new semi -ensuite bathroom so something had to be done to modernise and beautify it. However there was not the budget available for a full bathroom renovation or full strip out. In the case of this Bayswater bathroom there was no budget for a full strip out.

So if that sounds like your bathroom- read on to find out what you can do!



1. re- spray old wall tiles- use a professional to do this. ( not suitable for floor tiles)

2. re- enamel bath tubs, sinks and toilet pans

3. Fit a new toilet cistern and seat on an existing toilet pan

4. replace an old vanity with a shop bought vanity to fit the space.

5. Replace a shower curtain with a shop bought DIY shower screen made to order

6. Add a new border tile to the existing plain tiles

7. Replace an old mirror with a new larger one to give more light

8. Fit a brand new light fitting and exhaust fan

9. Replace taps with new chrome taps, spouts and shower fittings ( shower on a rail)

10. Finish with a brand new paint job use satin paint finish.

So what could we do to update it? We could re -do the floor, delete the roman bath layout, change the shower shape for more space and get a new toilet and vanity installed. Since the roman bath floor was sunken, we needed to fill this in.with cncrete.

Once the floor was again level, we could redraw a new hob that had the shower screen door on the angle to the front. We ordered a new semi -framed corner shower screen. ($800) A new 900 mm free standing vanity in warm wood tones, with drawers and a white stone bench top and vessel basin, was sourced as a package ( $800 ) and we put in a new fancy mixer tap ($120) for the basin. A brand new close coupled china toilet suite was sourced as well ($400)

We managed to keep all the original wall tiles and we replaced ones that were cracked or disturbed and broken. We added a border tile to the top row to modernise the walls.

We re- grouted all the new wall tiles ( thankfully the owner had spares), that were replaced. A new larger coffee toned floor tile was used (found at a tile shop clearance at $14m2) to modernise the space and then we added a modern LED wall light above the mirror. ( Beacon LED $70) The skylight was unveiled and restored to its original state and at once the light bright bathroom came to life!

The renewed bathroom came in under $5,000!




Industrial styling for your home


Industrial Style Interiors can be achieved very easily in a home by following just a few guidelines about materials of construction of furniture and homewares.

To achieve the raw and rustic, pared down aesthetic of an industrial interior, the backdrop needs first to be rather plain. Concrete, brick that is exposed, bare plaster, grey walls, black framed windows, peeling paint and stone walls are a good background to this styling theme.

Bring in furniture which appears to have been salvaged from a junk yard, timber that is rough sawn, mixed with iron and steel, other metals such as copper, combine with glass and black and white, rope, hessian, tea chests and old relics, office storage from the past, an old board room chair, blackboard, metal lamps, bunker style lights and overhead tin shades.

The look is New York Loft, warehouse style, very basic and unadorned. Re-purposed pieces of furniture such as a trunk with casters turned into a table, or an old metal filing unit turned on its side as a console. Add some comfort in the form of Armchairs upholstered with news print, stripe or basic bold colour.

Is fun and inexpensive to do Industrial style in your home- so give it a try and hit the junk shops.


Have you been having dreams about renovations or home improvements? or are they nightmares?? Your renovation project should be all smooth sailing- once you have read and learnt about the traps and picked up some tips? 

Nothing is better than having an expert on the job- so Essence fully advises you to take the easy way- have an Essence consultant project manage your renovations so that you can get on with what YOU are good at!

Read about the types of problems you can come across in a typical renovation project below...............then at the end we will give you heaps of tips, tricks and advice to make sure the "nightmare" is just a dream and not a reality!!

Have you ever thought about doing a renovation on your home?

Have you thought that maybe a lot of things you could possibly do yourself?

Think again! A renovation is a very complex and intricate procedure for which you will need a set of much defined skills. Getting an expert to project manage a major renovation is paramount to your success at home improvement. Read on to hear why...........


Did you know that there are set regulations and laws across just about every trade there is?  For example in the electrical trade there are many regulatory issues to be aware of. The distance between a power point and water source, the need for a safety switch by law, a hard wired smoke detection device is now mandatory, there are restrictions as to where you can put a heated towel rail, a pendant light in a bathroom, an outdoor power point and what about installing a new air conditioner? You could be up for loads of extra costs if you need to run another circuit to provide enough power.

Electricians are bound by law to install safety switch and smoke detector in ALL renovation jobs.  They can locate a switch board to see if the circuit needs adding to for running a dishwasher, a microwave or any new appliance you may add. If you are not aware of all these rules in electrical Work, you could be left with either a fine or a botched job


In many older renovation jobs, where the house is over 50 years old, the plumbing can be a problem if you don’t know what you are doing. Why? Firstly, back in the day, plumbing was done a lot more conspicuously and the pipes are often visibly outside, exposed or are in very ugly and inconvenient places. Old flats and apartment blocks  plumbing is directed to a main duct . You cannot change that at all. You just need to work with it. They often have what is called a plumbing “stack” or a void that runs all the way up in the same cavity (or duct), to which all flats are connected. Attempts  to “ cover  up” old pipes with cabinets or something else  is also an issue- as the access to the pipes in an emergency will be restricted or not available. If there is a major blockage somewhere- the results may be quite devastating. Blockages may cause the whole system to back up and over flow......resulting  in  a very smelly mess!

Older homes are also of the era where copper pipes and galvanised pipework were often used and this requires welding and a lot of hard work to join up pipes and re direct them etc. These days the pipes are nearly always PVC and are a whole lot easier to deal with. Often plumbers will insist on old copper pipeworks being completely replaced- an expensive  exercise indeed.


Did you know that there is about ten different kinds of ceramic and porcelain tiles and they all have differences in how they need to be laid..........then there is natural stone such as Travertine, this needs a specialist tiler and a “wet saw” to cut it and the product is extremely porous and fragile.

Tiles can range from 200 x 200 mm to a size of 1.5m x 750mm or even bigger. So handling these larger tiles can be a major problem for tilers. The cost of tile laying varies greatly in accordance with the labour and difficulty rating of the specified tile. “Rectified” or very square edged tiles that have a very fine grout line are difficult to get right because there is little room for movement and the tile must be placed extremely flat on an even surface. So screeding for porcelain rectified tiles is a major concern.

Size of tiles is also a major issue to consider as the layout of the tile will determine where unsightly cuts will have to be made. Only a good tiler will consider this layout factor first and make the cuts where they are at a complete minimum and will not be most noticeable. Mosaic tiles, being backed with plastic “mesh” present a problem because they “move around” easily and they are often not the same in thickness as the other surrounding tiles. This means they must be “packed out” so they appear flush with other tiles.Fall is a

very critical aspect of tiling which needs to be addressed in the screeding stage. The fall is what makes the water drain away correctly and stops the water “ pooling “ around various unwanted areas of shower recesses, bathroom floors and toilets etc. The fall is very important to allow correct drainage and to make sure in the event of a flooding- the water has free and unblocked drain ability.

Corners, and height of tiling is also something that needs careful consideration. Depending on the tiles used, a corner may not look at its best unless the tiles are “mitred” – that is both meeting tiles are “shaffered” so that they meet in a more precise angle. Otherwise the corners can be “butt joined” however this may not look as appealing. Bath risers , steps up to baths and  2 walls that meet are areas where you need to consider this most.  There are several  aids that may be used to get around this- including using plastic or metal “ aluminium angle” or “ floor strip” that gives a corner or edge a neat edge but the edging is completely visible. It’s a matter of choice if you like this finish or if you don’t.

Finally the type of tile will have a great affect on the extent of cleaning afterwards; highly polished porcelain tiles show up footprints of bare feet and tend to be hard to keep clean, wheras anything that has a rough finish will trap dirt in the grooves, as do tiles with a larger or wide grout line- with these the grout may discolour, fall out or become a dirt trap.