Gina from STYLE CURATOR is taking over the reigns today and sharing with us 5 things she learnt when building her new home.

STYLE CURATOR is a blog about the pursuit of a stylish home, the love of interior design and decorating, renovation and home improvement tips, insights from experts and tours of beautiful homes.  So grab a cuppa and learn a bit about what it takes to build a new home from the expert herself.

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Building a house is a massive undertaking… and my husband and I smartly decided to attempt two houses in our first go!


Having just finished the build, and learning a heck of a lot along the way, I thought I’d share my top 5 in the hope to help others about to take on a build project of their own.



  1. Get the design right before you start

This sounds so obvious but if you haven’t built before, it can be easy to overlook! Everything is easier and cheaper to fix while it’s still in design stage so be sure you’re 100% happy before you submit the plans for approval, let alone start pouring the slab.

I found it helps to imagine yourself walking through the house – are you happy with all the doorways and the flow of the home? Thinking about this led us to move the house over from the boundary to allow a walkway down the side of the house. Are you happy with the layout of the bathrooms? The plumbing for baths, toilets etc are generally locked in when the slab is poured so imagine opening your bathroom door and looking around the space. Take a few weeks to sit with the ‘final’ designs before you submit them for approval.


  1. Have a realistic budget with an even more realistic buffer

Gah how I hated this ‘B’ word that squashed so many of my wild and wonderful plans, like a glass panel ceiling in our ensuite, but being conscious of our budget throughout the build and having a realistic buffer is what got us over the line.

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It’s astonishing how quickly trades and materials add up… let alone unforeseen issues or delays. Part way through our build we had to reengineer our roof which added a significant cost – it’s things like this you just can’t see coming that can completely blow your budget. Allow at least a 10-20% buffer and if you don’t need it, that’s great!


  1. Be flexible

I suppose this ties into the point above but no matter how organised or well prepared you are, things can and most likely will go wrong. Keeping a positive attitude and being flexible will help you find solutions more quickly and keep the project on track.


  1. Have a vision

I’m not sure about you but I like all sorts of interior styles and unless I had a clear vision for the home I was about to build, I would have ended up with a hot mess of all sorts of beautiful things that absolutely did not go together!


I converted my dining room wall into a massive mood board where I pinned my inspiration. Over months I collected magazine cuttings, paint swatches, kitchen catalogues and other sources of inspiration to compile my ideas that I could then refine.

Without a doubt, this mood board gave me the confidence to lock in materials like dark cabinetry and patterned floor tiles, while avoiding mixing interior styles that didn’t go together.

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  1. Prioritise what’s most important

No matter how big your budget, it’s likely you won’t be able to afford it all. As you head down the spiral of researching finishes for your home, you’ll discover incredible kitchens made in Germany or Italy, designer tapware and all sorts of other insanely expensive finishes you ‘must have’.


I found it helpful to work out the top 5 things that were most important to me early in the build so I could ensure there was enough budget to cover these. For everything else, I kept referring to my mood board to find other options that suited the style but were more economical.

Hopefully these top 5 things I learnt when building our home help you with your project!

Thanks so much Gina.

Don’t forget to pop over to STYLE CURATOR for lots more inspiration, tips and expert advice.