By Tsega Assefa
Carly Schulz and Leighton Brow are the young couple we were first introduced to on Channel Seven’s hit reno show House Rules. They battled it out against the other states and went on to secure the victory and win a life-changing prize. We go behind the scenes to explore any changes they’ve made to their home since the show ended and ask them for some advice for budding home renovators.
WHAT DID THE SHOW TEACH YOU ABOUT RENOVATING?
Leighton: It was such an intense experience and a big learning curve, but most of all it taught us about planning, the need for a clear vision, interior design and getting a good balance in a room.
Carly: In that environment we learnt a lot about each other and how to work together when undertaking a reno.
THE BIGGEST LEARNING CURVE FOR US ON THE SHOW WAS…
Carly: It’d have to be in Melbourne, we failed to have a clear vision for our zones in the boys’ house and the workload just kept piling up leaving us really pushed for time to complete the rooms. After that week, which was a real low point for us on the show, we took the time to reflect on where we went wrong and made sure we had a well-mapped plan of what we wanted to accomplish.
TOP TIPS FOR PLANNING A MAJOR RENO?
- Have a clear vision for the room, know exactly what you want to do before you go out shopping, if you don’t have a clear vision of the room before you start you can fail because things get out of hand quickly.
- Take your colour scheme with you when going shopping, even if it’s the base colour of a type timber you want to use or a bedspread, you take that with you and try and tie all your elements into it without making it overpowering.
- Let every room have a little surprise to add a bit of fun to it, like we did in the hallway in Queensland. It was a plain hallway but we added a modern cuckoo clock and it was contemporary, it looked good but was a bit of fun as well.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE HOME RENO TRENDS?
Carly: I love little side tables that double as a stool, the geometric ones are so on trend at the moment, they can come in bright colours or wood and they look really good and keep the room very open.
SURFACES AND FINISHES YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT ARE…
Leighton: Timber, I definitely can’t live without timber. I love creating a feature with nice modern timber because it looks great but also creates warmth in a room. Carly: I like stone, especially in our house the stone feature wall is great because it ties in with the look of the exterior.
HOT TIPS FOR FELLOW DECORATORS IN THE:
Leighton: It has to look fantastic but you also have to be able to work in there quite easily. I think because we’re a young couple that like to entertain and don’t have a lot of space to work with we’ve never really had a dining table. We’ve always used a kitchen bench which works great and it saves on space.
Carly: We love a feature like Jemma and Ben’s ensuite. It has to be nice and bright, you don’t want a dark and dingy bathroom, but the trick is if you have a lot of natural light coming in then you can have a darker coloured room.
Leighton: So many homes are open plan these days so the major thing would be to have a rug to divide the areas. Carly: We really like what we did in Michelle and Steve’s lounge. It really defines the space especially if you’re working with a large open space and it also adds some warmth and character.
HOW CAN WE SAVE THE BIG BUCKS WHEN WORKING ON A HOME RENO?
Leighton: When you’re doing a reno you’ve got to know what you want, because if you have to do something again it’s going to cost you twice as much to get the job done. A lot of the time people aren’t specific in what they want, they have a vague idea and think it will come together later on, but that’s something you should avoid.
DO YOU HAVE SOME RELATIONSHIP ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES EMBARKING ON A MAJOR HOME MAKEOVER?
Carly: Yes, definitely listen to each other, communicate with each other and have a mood board. With Leighton and I in particular, we needed to have some patience with each other, because it’s not easy doing a reno, the stress starts to get to you and things go wrong but if you have constant and open communication then it makes it easier to deal with situations that come up.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE AREAS IN THE HOUSE?
Leighton: The back yard turned out great. We absolutely love it. It’s a relaxing area but also really great for having people over as well.
Carly: I’d have to say the kitchen servery because it’s north-facing, it lets in so much natural light and really sets the tone for the room. When we entertain, even if you’re in the kitchen, it still connects you with the amazing outdoor area and because the window also has a handy concealed fly screen, I can leave it open most days.
WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU MADE TO YOUR HOME SINCE THE SHOW ENDED?
Leighton: Even though overall the house turned out great, initially, there were a few things that we thought we’d have to change like the laundry being right by the front door, we thought was going to be a nightmare, but as it turns out it’s actually convenient, so we didn’t move it. The same goes for the rest of the house, we just ended up making a few tweaks here and there to put our stamp on it.
Carly: It just needed a few finishing touches to make it more our style. Like in the lounge room we altered the coffee table, rug, and some of the accessories and we did the same in our other rooms, small changes to the décor that made it more “Carly and Leighton”.