Remodeling a home is something of a journey, with each new project bringing different and more complex challenges. When Caitlin Judd and her partner realized that they weren’t going to be able to find what they were were looking for in the homes in their area, they decided that it was time to start a renovation of their own, and with that, a blog chronicling their journey. Recently, we had the pleasure of speaking with Caitlin about her blog, Not a Model Home, her decision to renovate, and her story.
Caitlin, thank you so much for sitting down with us today to talk about your blog Not a Model Home! How did you get started in the world of blogging?
Blogging for me actually came about through my current work in Canberra. Our team runs a blog at work and one of our regular segments is ‘five minutes with’. Bloggers kept popping up, including one’s that had actually made a full-time career out of it, and I felt inspired – these women were real life Carrie Bradshaw’s and loving it! This bout of inspiration came at a convenient time as we had decided to buy the renovators delight and I thought why not write about my experience?
What kind of projects and ideas can our readers expect to see on your blog?
Not A Model Home is still in its early days as I’ve been conscious of only growing it slowly as we wait for boring things like council approval to get started on the renovation. However as of 27 January we have a green light from the council (and neighbours) to get going, so I will start documenting the entire renovation. My main focus with most of my blog posts is to share experiences including all the pits and peaks of renovation life and hopefully set expectations for anyone wanting to dive into a project of their own. This entire house is getting renovated, so no room will be left untouched or ignored on the blog, the complete A-Z of renovations. I also have a number of guest posts lined up over the next two months that will include some DIY projects, hot tips about project management and styling on a budget.
You say in your blog that the title, Not a Model Home, comes from you and your partner realizing that you were never going to find what you were looking for in a typical builder grade home. What is it that sets the home that you and your partner want apart from a standard pre-built home?
We are both particularly fussy people, especially my partner, Callum. We would frequently visit pre-built homes and something would be wrong with it whether it be the layout, the bedroom sizes or the bathroom décor – it’s somebody else’s style, not your own. This house will be our forever home (when I say forever, I mean at least five or so years), so why not build something that is just right for us? What sets our place apart is almost everything from inside to out – we have tinkered with the layout for three months to ensure we have captured all the items on both of our checklists. We are big entertainers, so we have included a large kitchen and butlers pantry which flows to the outdoor entertaining area and pool, a large lounge room with a fireplace (very rare to find in Canberra strangely enough), Callum’s big stadium seating cinema, the one bedroom and bathroom downstairs for guests and our master suite upstairs with a HUGE walk-in wardrobe (my checklist of course). It is perfect for us, and in case you’re wondering, there are an additional two bedrooms upstairs for any additions to the family.
Throughout the renovation process your own personal sense of style will undoubtedly play a major role in many of the design decisions. How would you describe your favored style of home decor?
Absolutely, and that’s what I’m most excited about! We both love the Scandinavian style mixed with a touch of industrial modern (feature pendants for example). I’m a big fan of neutral palettes including greys, whites and blush paired with bold statement pieces such as furniture and artwork. My main focus however is to create a practical home that is warm and inviting. I’m definitely a person that is partial to many styles which is influenced by my location at the time – one day I would love to build a big country home which would be different again!
Balancing a career, a renovation and blogging is a considerable load. How do you manage to find time for it all?
Haha – I’ll let you know! No, I’m a pretty organised person and I’m fortunate to be in a job that you can leave at work and not think about again until 9am the next morning, this hasn’t always been the case! Weekends and after work are our best friends at the moment to get jobs done around the house.
We are both very visual people so we have a rather large project plan pinned to the wall at home that consists of brown butchers paper and post it notes so that we can both stay on track.
We also have a fantastic network of tradie friends who are happy to give up their nights and weekends to help us get the renovation finished by December 2016. I tend to focus on my blog once the sun has gone down and I can sit quietly and reflect – I am looking forward to getting a study though! I have put off my Masters degree for six months to devote my time to the house and Not A Model Home. Overall, I think the key is being organised and only committing to as much as you can humanly achieve!
What is it that you hope to achieve from maintaining this blog throughout the process of your home renovation, and what are your plans for your site after this renovation is complete?
If Not A Model Home can help one person avoid a silly mistake or inspire someone to do something differently, then I’ll be a very happy girl! All I want to do with Not A Model Home is share my honest experiences with my readers, provide a few laughs and some interesting insights into the renovating world – as I’m learning it is nothing like you see on television.
In terms of my plans for the site after our renovation is complete…more guest posts for one, and if all goes well, Callum and I will buy another property to renovate, this time to flip for profit- bucket loads of content to keep the blog alive! We would love to turn our ‘weekend job’ renovating into a full time gig, but we will have to wait and see how everything goes this year, we may kill each other yet!
What advice would you give to homeowners who are about to embark on their own remodeling journey?
If you haven’t bought it yet, make sure you get proper advice on the structural integrity of the home, trussed roofs are perfect for renovations because you can knock out every non load bearing wall and start fresh! Have an engineer come and have a look for you to make sure you’re not going to meet an extremely costly problem down the line.
If the keys are already in your possession, take your time planning! You only want to do this once, so make sure you take the time to properly plot out what you want to do with the property. Get on sites like Pinterest and Houzz and find inspiration – there is no such thing as an original idea in my opinion, so copy and steal everything! Don’t be afraid to seek professional help, if you’re not a plumber, don’t try to fit your own toilet – as I said, you only want to have to do this once!
Special thanks to Caitlin Judd of Not A Model Home for speaking with us and providing the photography for this article. If you would like to learn more about Caitlin and her blog, please visit her site Not a Model Home.