Deborah Hutton’s top renovation tips

HUTTON'S HINT: You need the right people who understand your vision, and can help you bring it to life. Don’t begin unless you have full confidence they can deliver.

HUTTON'S HINT: You need the right people who understand your vision, and can help you bring it to life. Don’t begin unless you have full confidence they can deliver.

No home renovation is without its challenges, so it’s important to surround yourself with experts who know what they’re doing and can help you realise your vision. Television presenter Deborah Hutton found just that when she began the renovation of her seaside home. The first time renovator shares what she’s learnt and why she believes that behind any great renovator is a great builder, architect and a knowledgeable group of friends.

Get a good reference – Building your dream home is a significant investment, so having a builder who you totally trust is critically important. I was fortunate to have a personal recommendation from a close friend who had used Virtue Projects before and literally said to me, “I have your builders when you’re ready!”

Find the right architect – Finding an architect was not as easy and if I were to do it again I would do it very differently. I couldn’t seem to find one that understood my brief and I was apprehensive of what I perceived as an enormous cost for an architect to design and oversee the project. I chose a different path which in hindsight has cost me much more. With no understanding of the enormity of the task, I began with a draftsman, thinking it couldn’t be that hard to draw up house plans. Especially when I felt I knew the footprint/layout it needed to be. How wrong I was. That was my first insight into understanding that the ‘devil is in the detail’.

Take time to get the plans right – I eventually engaged an architect, but after some weeks still couldn’t get the project to where I wanted it. A designer I was working with suggested another architect. A few months on and we’d redesigned the house again and got it to the point where I was happy to submit the DA. Having done a good job working within council restrictions, and with my neighbours, the DA was approved in a record six weeks.

Get a little help from your friends – When I look at the house today, it’s amazing how the design has evolved from where I started. I was never really happy with the front façade, the floorplan was great but the overall look didn’t quite fit in with my Hamptons hopes. Surprisingly, the solution came to me during a weekend away in Brisbane. A friend of mine was completing his own renovation project in a similar style, which I loved and I said, “I need your help … I want something like this!” 

Know what typifies your look and don’t compromise – Thankfully I’ve not had to compromise to achieve my intended style. The biggest Hamptons element of my home is that stunning weatherboard look, with everything designed around that pivotal component. I wanted to build my home with a look that showed my love of the Hamptons/Queenslander style.

Linea Weatherboard delivered that look with the added benefits of resisting flaking, warping or swelling and being less prone to damage from termites and moisture. Considering where the house is located it became a significant factor for ongoing maintenance.