123 Clarke is the latest project by DevelopHer Yolanda. The renovated Federation-style family home oozes charisma, and features sheer linen curtains throughout.
"123 Clarke is a pretty special house, and I’m very proud of the outcome."
For more incredible content, jump across to watch our home tour at 123 Clarke.
Hi Yolanda, congratulations on the recent sale of your incredible development project and family home, 123 Clarke! Our DIY Blinds design consultants loved working closely with you to design your window furnishings.
Thanks team! It was a pretty special house, and I’m very proud of the outcome. Thanks very much for all your support, and for being a part of the journey that was 123 Clarke!
When did you first discover your passion for developing properties?
My passion for property development is a natural progression from my love of real estate and architecture. But I must say that to undertake a renovation or build a new home, you have to have a fairly thick skin and broad shoulders!
I really enjoy renovating homes and I find it helpful to have a passion and hobby to channel my time and energy into, outside my career in healthcare. Each project is a starry constellation of wins, losses and lessons learnt, and is a great tool for demonstrating the importance of values within the next generation. If you are lucky enough to be able to join all the dots, you can end up with quite a beautiful picture as a result. After all, who doesn’t love a good rollercoaster right?
"My advice for aspiring renovators and people designing their forever home is seek the advice of professionals who share your passion and enthusiasm."
Do you have any advice for finding trustworthy and collaborative suppliers and trades, when renovating or developing for the first time?
My advice for aspiring renovators and people designing their forever home is seek the advice of professionals who share your passion and enthusiasm. You must not only love a product, you should love the people you are dealing with. A high-performance team of champions who share your vision will always lend itself to the best outcome for your home.
This build has definitely been the longest, most challenging of any I have ever completed. I think the results are truly unique. It has been a massive undertaking, and I have had a lot of fun along the way. I often think to myself what a disaster it would have been, if I had not found myself in the company of this very special group of trades and suppliers.
Forging long-standing relationships with suppliers like DIY Blinds means that not only do I intend to work with them again in future, but these interactions now transcend into personal friendships. A support network of people to share the wins, and problem-solve through the trickier times. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I discussed the window furnishing options with DIY Blinds staff!
"We incorporated playful elements like an open mezzanine to encourage more interaction across the ground and first floors."
When designing a family-friendly home, what key elements do you think people should consider in their plans?
Everyone's design brief is very personal, and specific to their family. Our brief was to create a family home, with a hint of drama. We wanted zoned living and sleeping quarters, with spaces to come together and spaces to be apart. Due to our sloping block, we ended up with a beautiful terraced design, where old meets new style home.
It's important to have some separation between sleeping and living quarters in this day and age. And who isn’t a fan of a large open-plan living/dining/kitchen that connects seamlessly to the garden and pool, if you’re lucky enough to have the budget for it!
Considering the age of any kids is important too, so they feel engaged with the home. We incorporated playful elements like an open mezzanine to encourage more interaction across the ground and first floors.
Hands down, our best investment would have to be the in-ground trampoline. It’s definitely one of the best motivational tools in our arsenal to peel the kids away from their screens. It took a lot of effort to excavate, and has its own in-ground plumbing. Like most things in the house, the devil is in the details. It’s often the things that are made to look effortless, which take the most effort!
"As soon as I had my initial house plans, I sent them to Evan at DIY Blinds who was able to workshop ideas with me. We also worked to fit everything within my budget."
Can you share your top tips for choosing window furnishings?
My top tip is to engage the design professionals from the get-go. Choosing between shutters, blinds and curtains was a tricky enough design decision. Then having to navigate between sheers and blockouts, ceiling mount or face fit, S fold versus pleats, motorisation, and so on. Not to mention the endless array of fabrics and styles!
As soon as I had my initial house plans, I sent them to Evan at DIY Blinds who was able to workshop ideas with me. Quite often window furnishings are the unsung hero that gets ‘forgotten’ at the design stage, and are left to the very end. Which is such a shame, as they are such an important element to add to the look and feel of the home.
Evan did multiple site visits to ensure we had considered all aspects of form and function, before anything went into production. We also worked to fit everything within my budget, which is quite helpful in the development game to maximise bang for your buck.
"From the first moment I received my samples from DIY Blinds, I knew that the Allusion range would be right for this house. The price point of the sheers is so great."
What drew you to linen sheers from our Allusion range, and what do you love most about them?
From the first moment I received my samples from DIY Blinds, I knew that the Allusion range would be right for this house. Linen sheers have a super luxe feel to them. The price point of the sheers is so great; I know they will pay dividends when it comes to making a big impact at resale.
I was torn between two different colours. After speaking with a DIY Blinds consultant, I knew that one would work better and play on the green and warm beige undertones of this house. We chose a colour called Marzipan. It’s a beautiful soft pink/beige that specifically works to endorse the feminine vibes within each space.
What do you look for when choosing great value, premium quality products like our DIY Blinds designer curtains?
That old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is certainly true as far as I’m concerned. When you develop for profit, you inherently want to look for the lowest price, because you are always weary of overcapitalising.
I think DIY Blinds have been making waves in the window furnishings space, because they have found innovative ways to bring down the price of a product, while delivering a high quality. By not having showrooms and not paying commissions to salespeople, they can pass savings on to customers. That is fantastic news for people who are on a tight budget, and for those who don’t want to compromise on a premium product. Their window furnishings are also Australian made. As well as getting a quick turn-around time on manufacturing, you know you’re supporting local. That, to me, is a huge win!
"I was adamant about including colour within the house. You don’t often see colour in developments, especially organic greens like the ones we used in the bedrooms."
123 Clarke is unique and full of personality, while still appealing to lots of potential buyers. How do you strike that balance so well with your developments?
Design is a very personal thing. Too far one way, you’re going to come off as a rebel and haphazard; too far in the other direction and it becomes too vanilla.
At 123 Clarke the angles, curves and brass inlays are repeated, even in the outdoor areas, to achieve a consistent, high-end look and feel throughout the home. I was adamant about including colour within the house, which you don’t often see in developments, especially organic greens like the ones we used in the bedrooms.
The use of natural stone throughout the house is a crowd favourite. Because of the price point, maintenance and availability of engineered stone these days, it’s becoming far more common in the residential setting. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you just can’t beat the look of natural stone. You will find a lot of it in this house, because there is nothing more luxurious than a stunning piece of marble atop a custom piece of joinery.
The folded-steel stairs are something quite exquisite, and not often seen in residential homes. They seem to float in mid-air, and look more like a sculpture than a staircase. Ironically, despite it being suspended, it weighs just over half a tonne, and took several people hours to erect. Wow moments like this throughout the house means it will likely resonate with people. After all with great risk comes great reward!
"It was a pleasure and an achievement to return this house to its original glory and bring it into the modern day, so it can be enjoyed for generations to come."
What were the main challenges you faced during this project?
Unfortunately, like most other people who were building last year, we were severely impacted by the COVID-19 situation. We encountered reduced workforce numbers, unavailability of labour, travel restrictions, delayed and cancelled orders and paucity of stock and materials, not to mention numerous shutdowns. All of these things stretched our budgets and timelines, but they made us appreciate the final outcome more. They also brought the team closer together. Nothing strengthens the sense of camaraderie quite like adversity!
"We loved renovating and extending this beautiful 1920s Federation-style home, which was hidden under a not-so-beautiful 1980s renovation."
What did you enjoy most about renovating a Federation-style period home?
We loved renovating and extending this beautiful 1920s Federation-style home, which was hidden under a not-so-beautiful 1980s renovation. I think I most enjoyed uncovering the history of the house as we peeled back each layer. We discovered old photos and original period features that have been hidden for decades. One by one the old wire-cut mission brown bricks were removed to reveal the original roughcast render, which we restored based on historical photos. It was a pleasure and an achievement to return this house to its original glory and bring it into the modern day, so it can be enjoyed for generations to come.
Are you able to let us in on any projects you have planned for the rest of this year?
Life in general has been very tricky to navigate throughout Covid, and real estate is no exception! 123 Clarke was a huge project that took almost 3 years from purchase to completion, so (for now) we are taking a well-deserved break. I’m sure it won’t be long before we circle back to get in line for the renovation rollercoaster once more!
Watch our home tour video to hear Yolanda talk about her incredible home!
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