What are the 4 keys to a successful and enjoyable project, and home, when building and renovating?
There’s 4 things, 4 keys, that make designing, building and renovating your family home do-able, enjoyable, worthwhile, and save you time, money and stress along the way.
I’m super excited to be bringing this episode to you. Because in it, I’m going to share with you some really fantastic news if you’re designing, building or renovating your future home, and share with you some great insight into what will ultimately create that feel-good home you can’t wait to live in.
For over 25 years now, I’ve been helping homeowners design, build and renovate their family homes.
It’s a long time, isn’t it? More than half of my life.
For me, there really is nothing better than being part of the journey of helping someone, a family, create the place they’ll live for many years to come, love each other, share great and not so great times, create memories, rest, relax and restore, and be the place they call ‘home’.
It really is a privilege to have a front row seat to the transformation that happens in their lives, their lifestyles and their family life when they have a home that really works for them, and makes their lives better.
Since I started Undercover Architect in mid 2014, I’ve been able to help thousands and thousands through the website and this podcast. In fact, the podcast is now at over 750,000 downloads, which is incredible.
And through Undercover Architect’s online programs, I’m directly helping, and have been able to personally help, over 1,600 homeowners with various aspects of designing, building and renovating their family homes.
I’m always looking for what creates true enjoyment and success in residential projects.
Whatever the scale or size, budget or location, what is it that really matters and makes not only the experience of building and renovating an enjoyable one, but that also creates a fantastic, feel-good, family home at the end of that journey.
I’ve come to realise that it comes down to four key ideas. There’s 4 things that make designing, building and renovating your family home do-able, enjoyable, worthwhile, and save you time, money and stress along the way.
Before I dive into these 4 things, these 4 key ideas, I want to briefly mention my exciting news – and be sure to stay tuned until the end of this episode, because I’ll share more detail.
So what is this exciting news? Well, it’s this. We’ve made some big changes to how you can work with me more closely in your new build or renovation project.
If you’ve been part of the UA Community for some time, you may be familiar with my two main online courses, “How to Get it Right in Your Reno or New Home”, and “Manage Your Build”.
“How to Get it Right” takes you step by step through the process of building or renovating your home, with deep dives into specific information that I know homeowners need for their project to go well, and their home to be great.
And “Manage Your Build” is a course I created with builder, Duayne Pearce, and it takes you through each stage of your project’s construction. So you can understand what’s happening on site, know what to expect in each stage, and be sure you’re getting what you’re paying for in your build.
Members have been joining these courses separately since I began them. But what I’ve seen in my time of working with homeowners inside these programs, is that the best results happen when homeowners join both programs.
I am always looking for ways to improve how I can help you when you choose to work with me more closely in your project.
And so, my exciting news is that this … I’ve combined these two programs into a brand new one, that I’m calling The HOME Method. I’ll explain later in this episode how I came up with this name.
The HOME Method is available to join now, and it offers incredible value for you to get such comprehensive support and help in your project.
As well as accessing these much-loved online programs, I’ve also increased our Q & A’s to fortnightly so I can provide more regular help and input to member’s projects.
And you still get access to our great member benefits as well. So, if you’d like to learn more and join us, then head to undercoverarchitect.com/courses/the-home-method/ for more information.
Ok, so I’m going to dive into these 4 things, these 4 key ideas that improve your project experience, and the type of home you create. And I’m going to take you through them one-by-one.
So the first place to start when you want to get it right in your future home is this:
CREATE YOUR HOME WITH HEART
One thing I’ve seen for those building and renovating, is that it becomes really challenging to stay true to your wants, wishes, needs and dreams as you create your future home.
You’ll be bombarded with well-meaning advice, disappear down a google rabbit hole or into a Pinterest vortex any time you start researching, and be flooded with beautifully styled homes with the latest and greatest finishes, fixtures and fitouts. It can be really exciting, especially when you’re living in a home that feels pokey, dark or run-down, and you’re desperately needing more space, more light, and more lifestyle.
However, that excitement can shift pretty quickly to feeling demoralised, confused, and overwhelmed. Because all those glossy images of incredible, beautifully styled homes, will often also be high-end, high cost and high maintenance … or simply not be sustainable for our planet or family life.
And it’s a bit of a double edged sword, because when you’re planning your future home, it can be easier to get your brain wrapped around the idea of choosing tiles, and tapware, and paint colours and soft furnishings. And often easier than wrapping your brain around planning legislation, or soil testing, or structural design, or what team you need.
So, it’s where many start. On Pinterest, on Houzz, thinking about all the ways their home is going to look when it’s finished, and all the colours and items they want to have in it. Envisaging the difference to their living environment, the modernisation of it, the improvement of it all. All the surface stuff.
And somewhere along the way, as the project progresses, which can often take months and months, and sometimes two to three years (and even longer), you can get deeper and deeper into all the options that are available. It can be seriously overwhelming, and many get decision fatigue at the point when their ability to make decisions is most required.
And what I’ve seen for homeowners who reach this point is that, unless they’re getting outside help, they can easily get lost. They will lack trust in their taste, their aesthetic preferences, and end up choosing things that are safe, sometimes quite bland and monochromatic, and really lack confidence overall.
As someone who has done this for as long as I have, there’s an interesting tug of war going on. Because our homes – they’re incredibly personal. What home means to us, what we envisage when we think of ‘home’, and the dreams we have for creating it for ourselves.
‘Home’ is a really little word, but it means so much. And we link it to emotions and memories and nostalgia and sentimentality. And how that gets represented in a physical building fitted out with finishes and fixtures, and built from timber, brick, metal, concrete and glass … well, that can be really personal too.
And yet, as we dive into the deep end of the pool to create our own family homes, we can end up driving towards a similar aesthetic goal as everyone else. Similar colour palette, similar building forms, similar collection of rooms.
And this is where the tug of war happens. A very individual, personal ideal of ‘home’, with its own personal and big impact on our life and lifestyle. And for most, a very mainstream approach to then shaping what that looks like, and what colours and materials we choose to deck it out.
I see this cause big disappointment for homeowners who get lost. In getting lost, and losing confidence, they end up stepping back from their agency, their involvement in their project. They second guess themselves, crowd-source advice from friends and strangers, and have difficulty speaking up for themselves and the things that are important to them in their project. And they end up renovating and building a home for an imaginary version of themselves that will please others, and not honour the beautiful individuality of their authentic selves.
I completely get it. I too look at those beautiful images and think how amazing it would be to have a home that looks like that. And then I remember that I also love some of the repurposed and older pieces of furniture we currently have that I don’t necessarily want to get rid of, that just wouldn’t fit in that image.
And whilst I love living in a clean home, I hate cleaning, and I’d be forever cleaning to maintain things. Not to mention the three small humans I live with who need a bullet-proof home so I’m not yelling constantly at them about the marks they can make.
I grew up in a house where, whenever we stood up from the sofa, we had to flatten out all the folds, and re-fluff all the cushions. I remember often swearing I would never do that in my own home once I was a grown-up. My mum was amazing at keeping things in order, and the house always looking presentable at a moment’s notice.
However, I’m built more for comfort, and our home is totally about comfort. It’s also a little … hectic is not the word … but you know, three kids, a few businesses, a dog, a chook, horses, pigs, cows. There’s a lot of us here. There’s usually a fair bit going on, as I’m sure there is in your home too. And so, I choose for things we love, things that are really useful, and things that are super durable too.
Staying true to you is tricky in anything we’re endeavouring to do. I guarantee you’ll know this – that sometimes it’s a fight to stay true to you. To even know yourself well enough, your thoughts, your opinions, your dreams, so you can stay true to them and honour them.
The industry of renovating and building is a noisy place, with glossy magazines and glossier makeovers. You can easily lose sight of YOU as you seek inspiration and knowledge for your future home.
However, we all know that beauty is more than skin-deep, and the feeling of ‘home’ runs deeper than colours, throw cushions, nice fixtures and keeping up with the Joneses. Home is not about borrowed aesthetics, the latest trends and hacks.
When you know how to set your goals, create your vision, ask the questions you need answers to, and have the confidence to be involved, heard and seen … you bring your heart into your finished home.
This is what it means to CREATE YOUR HOME WITH HEART. To get clear on what home means for you, and what your vision of your future home is. And why you’re creating it in the first place. And then get informed and guided so you can be an active collaborator in making it happen.
I love love love watching the homeowners I work with via my online programs get really clear on what they’re seeking to achieve in their future home – and then keep their eyes on this as they move through their project journey. It’s not without its challenges.
As I said, the renovating and building industry is a noisy place, and we’re constantly fed – in every industry – the message that we’re not enough and we need more, extra, better in order to be complete.
I’ve said before that, for me, design isn’t about wow-factor, or elitism, or faking it with imitation designer items, or following the latest trends. Design is about how your home feels, and how you feel in your home. And I’m passionate about design and the difference it can make to your life.
What I love about the kinds of homeowners in the Undercover Architect community is that you’re questioning this too. I see you prioritising design, choosing sustainability, choosing what suits you, honouring yourselves and getting yourself in the best position to be super involved in your projects.
Creating your home with heart ensures it’ll be a place that authentically feels like yours. That you feel ‘at home’ in, and that shows others what home means to you. It embeds your values, your personality, your individuality and specialness. Your uniqueness as a person and a family.
This comes through having ownership of your goals, your dreams, your vision and your journey. Not getting lost, and doing what’s needed to bolster your confidence and stay true to you.
Creating your home with heart is what turns a house into a home.
So, what does this look like in action? This leads me to the second key idea, and that is this:
STAY ORGANISED IN YOUR PROJECT
Designing, renovating and building your family home is a complex process, involving a lot of moving parts, people and things to remember and take action on.
This long-term process will require zillions of decisions and staying power, whilst remembering why you’re doing this in the first place (plus all the other things you don’t want to forget).
And it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I often tell my course members, like a marathon, you need to sustain your energy right till the end. In fact, the end is when you can need it most.
One of the worst things you can do is start out on your renovation or building project not knowing the whole roadmap. It’s a surefire way to get lost, bamboozled, taken advantage of.
Doing a renovation or new build is not one decision. It’s a series of sequential decisions, and it doesn’t take many mis-steps to be in completely the wrong place, and for it to be super expensive and frustrating to reverse where you’re at and get back on track.
It’s strange, because we are so inundated with renovating and building reality TV programs and makeovers, we can think we know what we’re doing on some level. But once you start figuring out what your own project will entail, you can realise how little these programs actually help with the nitty gritty of town planning applications, design and documentation, working out budgets and keeping your team on track.
In fact, the reality TV programs can foster big misconceptions about how much renovating or building costs, and how long it takes. So, often your first steps in your own project can involve the shock of what it will actually cost you to renovate or build, and how long it will take – and the disappointment that you might not be able to do what you initially planned.
And one of the reasons many feel overwhelmed when designing, building or renovating is because they’re outside their comfort zone.
If you’re like most homeowners I know, you’ll be excited at the thought of finally having a home you can love and enjoy living in. But that will also be coupled with nerves, potentially some confusion, and uncertainty. Some tell me they’re not sure they’re capable of tackling such a big project, or are worried because they’ve seen others have a horrible experience of their own projects.
If this is how you’re feeling, it’s completely understandable. However, there’s something I think I know about you. I suspect this, many amazing humans I know these days, you’re a ninja organiser in other areas of your life that matter. It was simply a case of learning the ropes, so you could craft your way. With the right know-how, creating your future family home can be the same.
It’s fantastic to see what happens when homeowners get the tools and information they need to stay organised in their projects. When you understand an overall roadmap for your project. When you understand the best timing of decisions, and have someone helping you stay on track and take the next step more confidently. Because it means that you can be strategic about your project, save time and money, and actually find it far more enjoyable.
When you’re able to anticipate what’s coming up, what choices you should be making and when, and the things to look out for, you can avoid so many mistakes and dramas that others make.
Your renovation or building project needs a project manager. If that’s going to be you, then staying organised is essential to you doing this well. Staying organised will help you minimise the stress and be in control of how the project moves forward. Staying organised will also help you feel much calmer and enjoy the project more.
Now, the third thing that dramatically improves the experience of building or renovating, and the type of home you create, is when you:
GET MENTORED ALONG YOUR JOURNEY
Like anything you’re doing for the first time, building and renovating can feel hard.
It can be A LOT.
Even with all the excitement and anticipation of finally having a home that works for you, that supports and improves your lifestyle, it’s a big undertaking.
And the process of designing, building and renovating a family home can be challenging. Not just because of the $$ and time involved, but also because every family is different, every site is different. It involves the coordination of different team members, different agendas, rules and legislations, plus creativity and construction.
In the 25 plus years I’ve been helping homeowners with their future family homes, each project is different. It’s had its own nuances. Its own challenges and dynamics. It’s not just the nature of design and construction. It’s about the very act of creating a home. And the memory, sentimentality, ambitions and expectations that come with that.
But it’s also something you can and should enjoy. Because what you’re about to do will stretch you outside of your comfort zone. And show you, that when you put your mind to something, you are capable of so much more than you realise.
That you can, and will, find your way to that future home you’ve been dreaming about, and the lifestyle it’s going to enable you and your family to lead. Both in, and beyond this home you’re envisioning.
When it’s your family home, you most likely don’t have the chance for a do-over if you stuff it up. Getting it right the first time is the goal here. Avoiding the mistakes many make, so you can skip the heartache and drama others suffer.
You can do this. AND you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, why would you?
When it is this serious, this meaningful, this impactful. Why would you go it alone, and just ‘wing it’?
When you’ve heard the disasters, the mistakes, the blown budgets, the half-finished houses, the super-stressful experiences, the never ending debt and conflict.
You know it won’t be easy to get it right. But it will be SO worth the effort, and it definitely can be simplified.
In fact, that’s most likely why you’re here.
Like with anything else you’ve never done before, getting a guide to show you the way is not only sensible – it will accelerate your journey and future-proof your success.
Having done over 250 projects (including 3 of my own), plus having 25+ years in the industry that makes them happen, means I can give you an insider’s guide.
Whether it’s working with me, or with someone else, GET MENTORED ALONG YOUR JOURNEY. Working with someone who’s done this before, especially hundreds of times, will help you manage your risk, get the guidance you need through the tricky bits, and dramatically simplify your project overall.
Lastly, and this is certainly the key idea I love watch coming to life in homeowners, and it’s this:
BE EMPOWERED TO TURN YOUR DREAMS INTO REALITY
Having a vision for your future home is a powerful thing. Most homeowners I work with have held a vision for their future home for a long time – it’s this ideal way they want to live, to have more space, to have a better quality of life, and a home that welcomes them, embraces them, restores them, inspires them.
For others, the vision of their future home can be more closely aligned with where they’re at in their life right now, and the pathway they picture ahead as their family grows and changes – and the demands on their home mean it just doesn’t suit them.
What I know is this: you unlock what’s possible for your future home. You being informed, supported and guided gives you the confidence you need to make those dreams you have, come true.
I remember speaking recently to a member of my online program. She lives not too far from me, but we didn’t really know each other before she joined my program. Hilariously, our kids were going on a combined school trip to Canberra together, and she saw me at the airport, and said she’d been watching my videos.
When we first connected, she told me she’d had a difficult time with her project. A design that was more than she wanted to spend, hurdles left, right and centre, she was battle-worn from dealing with all the difficulties in realising her dreams. She’d had a really hard time of things, and spent a lot of time in getting a DA Approval on a design that wasn’t on budget. She was just so demoralised by the idea of it all being so challenging – to the point where she’d actually walked away from it all for some time. But the house still needed work, they needed a better setup, and that hadn’t changed.
She joined my program and started learning her way through this brand new industry. It was amazing to watch her become the ambassador her future home needed for this vision to become a reality.
She’s now finished her project, and is loving living in the home – not only for the lifestyle it provides for her and her family. But also because it represents what she’s been able to achieve through her hard work, her ability to put into action what she learned, and through having the support and guidance she needed, when she needed it.
She’s now embarking on some more work, and said she feels my hand in her back, urging her to ask more questions, insist on better quality information, and drive her project.
Having a secret ally in your corner, showing you a tried, tested and proven way forward, means you can simplify the process, and focus on what you need to: being who your future home needs to bring it life.
You’re capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. And I’ve helped others like you overcome their overwhelm, gain clarity and confidence, and be the ambassador their future home needs.
Being empowered to turn your dreams into reality unlocks all the potential you have to really step into your project, confident and informed. To speak up. To be heard. To be an active collaborator.
It doesn’t mean it’ll all be easy and plain sailing. Anything involving this much money, time, moving parts, emotion and significance is bound to have its hiccups and challenges along the way. But when you’re empowered, you will handle those challenges SO differently, than if you feel you have no agency, no power, and no confidence.
I know this about you though: You can do hard things. And I also know, you don’t have to do them alone.
I know if you’re listening to my podcast, you’re already streets ahead of many people building or renovating their home. Because you’ve chosen to get really well informed. At a nitty gritty level. At a level that matters, and makes a difference.
You’re not alone in this journey. I’m committed to providing you reliable, trustworthy and helpful information to help in designing, building or renovating your future home.
And just think of all the other thousands of homeowners like you, also listening to this podcast right now, also thinking about, planning their projects with intention and care.
I get so excited … because together, we’re changing the way people renovate and build their homes.
So that you can enjoy the process, and create a home that makes your life better.
And then when you make that happen in your life … imagine what else is possible? I had one member who is nearing the end of her project, recently tell me this.
She said: “The confidence I have gained from having your help building our home, has spilled over in other areas of my life! I can’t thank you enough!”
It’s always such a gift for me to watch that happen for homeowners, and members of my programs. And THAT’S what’s possible in your project too.
Let me remind you of the 4 things, the 4 key ideas I’ve shared with you.
Firstly, create your home with HEART.
Next, stay ORGANISED in your project.
Then, get MENTORED along your journey.
And lastly, be EMPOWERED to turn your dreams into reality.
HEART, ORGANISED, MENTORED, EMPOWERED … or H O M E, spells “HOME”.
And that’s how I came up with the name for my new program, The HOME Method.
You see, designing, building and renovating your family home is not simply a set of activities and tasks you string together to get through the process.
It’s about how you approach it, who you are as you navigate it, the help and support you can access and the confidence you have throughout.
So, if you’d like my help as you create your future family home, then I’d love you to join us inside The HOME Method.
As I said, it’s available to join now, and if you’re listening to this live, we have a special bonus available to you to celebrate this new way of us working together. It’s finishing up at the end of this week, so be sure to check it out.
Thanks so much for joining me for this episode, and for listening the whole way through. I’ve been busting to share this info with you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about The HOME Method, and about these 4 key ideas to remind you of how to be, and who to be, when designing, building and renovating your family home, so you can realise this dream you have for your future family home.
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE NOW.
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Learn more about The HOME Method here >>> https://undercoverarchitect.com/courses/the-home-method/