There’s a certain satisfaction that comes from designing and decorating your ideal family home. And in the experience, of Independent Stylist, Belinda, it all started because of the need for a Lorraine Lea office.
A year prior to starting her business, Belinda and her partner Jason purchased an outdated house in Boronia, in Melbourne’s east, with the intention of renovating and selling it.
“We planned to fix it up and sell it within five years, but in the process, we started falling in love with the house and the area,” she explains.
“Instead of renovating it to sell, we decided to create a home we’d love to live in.”
Without prior experience in renovation, the construction took a lot of time and planning, but Belinda and Jason were determined to do it all themselves, and do it their way. They designed a house that suited their family, with a walk-in pantry in the kitchen, and an inviting open-plan layout for the rest of the house.
First on the agenda, and most importantly in Belinda’s opinion, was to reconfigure the old dining room into a spacious office for her Lorraine Lea business. Previous to that, she worked from a small desk set up in the hallway; an unideal spot that was just steps away from the
busy front door.
“The further I got into my Lorraine Lea business, the more I knew I needed a better office set up. That was the real catalyst behind starting our renovations. Having my own office has made a huge difference to how effectively I work. I now have somewhere to go, close the door and get things done without interruptions.”
With the office complete, they concentrated on updating the family spaces, closing-in the outdoor pergola area and transforming it into a large lounge and dining room. Once the walls had been painted, Belinda’s family of four moved from their bedrooms into the lounge room and set up camp while construction work started on other parts of the house. Unfortunately, the renovations took far longer than estimated, and for the next 18 months Belinda, Jason and their two boys lived together on the floor of the lounge room.
“We ended up renovating a lot more of the house than we originally planned. We knocked walls out to make it bigger and replaced all the windows. The place is like brand new now, and it all came about because I needed an office!”
To complement the fresh look and feel of the house, Belinda decided it was a good opportunity to replace their well-used furniture with new, modern pieces. With her business generating a steady and substantial income, the money spent on fixtures and furniture didn’t come out of her family’s week-to-week budget. Instead, Belinda put the things they wanted on lay-by, and booked more Lorraine Lea home styling parties to pay them off bit by bit.
“We were willing to wait and buy all new furniture to compliment the house. I partied hard for the things we’ve got, and was able to save up the money and slowly pay off the dining table, couch and accessories. Everything was paid for with the income from my business.”
Describing her decorating style as modern and sleek, Belinda used an eye-catching combination of orange, charcoal, white and black as her colour theme throughout the house, and incorporated touches of orange into every room to tie the spaces together.
“My favourite colour is orange, so that’s where the orange accents came from. Everything from the quilt cover on our bed to the kids’ towels in the bathroom has a bit of orange in them. Even my office is orange and white! Everything else is in complementary neutral tones, because I wanted the orange to really stand out.”
The new windows, white walls and cabinets make the space feel light, airy and open. With
ultra-modern finishes, Belinda’s sleek new home features clean lines and sophisticated, polished benchtops. When it comes to décor, it’s no surprise Belinda’s house is completely decked out with Lorraine Lea product.
“All our throws and cushion covers in the lounge room are Lorraine Lea. All our towels are Lorraine Lea… actually, everything in our house is Lorraine Lea, right down to the table runners! My home is like an advertisement for the brand,” laughs Belinda.
“I had the flooring guy come in to fix some bits and pieces, and he kept commenting on how amazing the styling touches were and asked for a Lorraine Lea catalogue to show his wife. He said, ‘I think you need to come over so you can decorate our house too!'"
With the renovations complete, Belinda says her home is now a place her family wants to spend time in.
“Before, we’d always be looking for ways to get out of the house, but now, we love being at home. We enjoy inviting family and friends over because we have the space for it, and we’re proud of what we’ve created here."
"I can’t imagine us wanting to move again. This is our forever house. You’d never get a home set up exactly the way you want it, unless you build and decorate it yourself.”
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