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“House Nerd” Maya Gets Her Dream Home

The Modern Look

With over 14,000 followers on Instagram and a design column in STM Perth, it’s safe to say that House Nerd, Maya, knows a thing or two about home design. While Maya is no stranger to home renovations (she’s blogged about some of Perth’s most exciting renovations for years), renovating her own 1970s cottage has been an adventure into unchartered waters. We chatted to Maya about the transformation of the family home she once dubbed “The Crap Shack”.

The First Family Home

When first-time buyers Maya and her husband bought a 1970s ex display-home in their early 20s, they saw it as merely a stepping stone to getting their feet into the property market and not the site of their forever family home. As an avid interior design fanatic, Maya saw something in this ugly little duckling that inspired her and her husband to transform the humble abode into their dream family home. Fast forward nine years later and the Anderson family couldn’t be happier with their decision to renovate this old-school Aussie eyesore.

From Crap Shack to Beautiful Bungalow

The first rule of business on their renovation list was to modernise their dark and dated red-brown brick exterior by rendering. Using a DIY render product to lighten the dark brick walls, Maya and her family were pleasantly surprised with how the light-yellow hue managed to brighten the exterior as well as the interior of their home. After renovating the interior of their home with new interior arches, a modern kitchen, new bathrooms, a fresh laundry, new windows and new floors, Maya and her family thought they were done with renovating for good, but there was still something missing: the exterior. The DIY render hadn’t managed to stay in vogue over the passing years and continued to look drab and dated.

“The yellow render did visually lighten the house, but after a while, it just looked kind of daggy. Our front elevation was the main concern, and we needed to find a way to modernise it”, explains Maya.

Along with cladding their exterior, the Maya and her family replaced their single carport with a double and added a new back patio with a deck. For their exterior walls, they chose Stria Cladding in Dulux Natural White, and for their front elevation, they used Axon Cladding in bold Dulux Monument. By using the clean white lines of the Stria Cladding juxtaposed against the striking black of the Axon, Maya and her family completely transformed the look of their exterior and brought their front elevation back to life.

“I can’t believe what a difference cladding can make. The James Hardie Scyon™ Walls range makes the house look cleaner and neater and brings it up to date. There’s something particularly charming about black cladding – plants look amazing against it! We absolutely love the whole look”, says Maya.

A Bold Extension

After having the property valued numerous times, it was evident that their dated facade was the main concern bringing the price down. Maya knew that if they ever wanted to sell their home, they would need to do something about the yellow render. Maya and her family needed to find a way to modernise the exterior of their home without having to knock it down completely. Axon Cladding and Stria Cladding from the James Hardie Scyon™ Walls range were a natural choice.

“I didn’t even know you could over-clad a present house with new cladding, so that was an exciting new possibility. Axon Cladding and Stria Cladding are both ideal types of cladding for modernising older homes and giving them a crisp and contemporary look”, says Maya.

Renovating for the Future

Renovating a home isn’t just about making it attractive and liveable for now, but for the future as well. Along with being visually striking for years to come, the cladding profiles were chosen for their insulating and fire-resistant properties.

Aside from being renovation fanatics, the Maya and her family have always loved entertaining and filling their home with family and friends. Before transforming their “Crap Shack” from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan, they had always been embarrassed by the mess and the dating exterior. The striking look and ambience of their new home is now something to be celebrated, and they’re proud to show it off as much as possible.

“I sometimes can’t believe this is our home now; it feels like a completely different house to what it was. ‘The Crap Shack’ needs a new name”, jokes Maya.

Maya’s Top Tips for Transforming an Old-School Aussie Eyesore

  • Don’t be afraid to explore varying materials, particularly when cladding. The contrast of different cladding materials is the perfect solution to bring a dated exterior back to life.
  • If you’re stuck for inspiration, seek advice from a professional or a friend with a good eye for design. Pinterest is also an excellent resource for visual inspiration.
  • Don’t let your budget prevent you from using cladding. It’s possible to use cladding on existing homes as a feature or a part of your home like a feature wall or entry. Look to use panels over planks to reduce the labour costs.
  • Never be afraid to go bold with dark exterior colours. The juxtaposition with lighter colours can be truly stunning.
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