Nichole and her husband wanted to undertake a renovation of their old home. She was not sure where to start with their 1970 old home renovation and felt taking the time to understand the home renovation process would be valuable.
She discovered Undercover Architect and immediately signed up for HOME Method, confident in knowing the money she spent would save them money by avoiding mistakes that come from renovating an old home.
Listen to Nichole’s story on how she became empowered through her learning and understanding of the build process.
Nichole is a member of HOME Method.
Hi, I’m Nichole. I live in Perth, Western Australia. My husband and I bought a 1970’s home, and we’ve got four children and it’s only a three bedroom house. So we knew straight away that we would want to try and add some more bedrooms and renovate.
And we just didn’t know where to start. Because neither of us are in the building industry, and apart from doing a project home with a builder, where they pretty much handled everything, we’ve never really had much experience with the building industry before.
So we were really looking for a bit of help to navigate our way and to work out what would be the best plan of attack.
What concerns did you have before you started?
Our specific concerns were not knowing where to start. Knowing that we wanted to get it right, because we didn’t want to spend a lot of money and then still not be happy with it.
So we really wanted to be a bit more educated about the process of how you’d renovate and then be stepped through how to work with builders and things like that.
So our biggest concern was not having knowledge of the building industry to begin with, so that we could make the sort of most of the money we’re going to spend on our renovation.
I think if you’re not empowered with knowledge, then you could easily spend your money in the wrong places and end up with something that you’re not happy with. So yeah, for us, it was really important to have that power that comes with the knowledge so that we’re making the right choice.
So we’ve been in the home for about three years now. And we did think that we would start sooner than this. But we did want to be in the home for a little while. Sort of get a feel for how we use the space we had and then know what wasn’t working and how we could streamline things.
So the only time constraints really was getting the renovation done before our kids leave home. Because there’s nothing worse than you know, when you’ve got all these ideas, or you’d like something to be a certain way. And you don’t want to drag your feet too long, because they grow up so quickly. And before you know it … that you don’t need the space that you created. So we want to get on to it really soon now so that we can enjoy the house as a family.
How did you first discover Undercover Architect?
I can’t quite remember how I discovered Amelia. It was probably through a Google search. I think I was looking for advice.
So from there, I started listening to a lot of her podcasts and noticed that the website, that Undercover Architect offered online courses, and I thought that was perfect for my husband and I. That we could sit together and refine our goals and plans as we worked through the information that Amelia from Undercover Architect provided.
Did you explore any other options before joining Undercover Architect?
Well, we wanted to renovate and we knew that we were clueless, we didn’t know where to start looking basically. We didn’t consider anything in particular. We, I guess, we probably thought we might just contact a builder and get their advice on what we could or couldn’t do, perhaps with the property. But it just felt like we were working backwards to do that.
And so I thought it would be best to understand the process better of like, how to come up with a good design for ourselves so that it would run more smoothly.
What made you decide to join the Undercover Architect online courses?
After we’d been looking for a little while, and we’d been reading Amelia’s blog, and using the Undercover Architect website and the podcasts, I just really loved the way that she approached educating people and how beautifully she came across. And in a really kind, caring way that didn’t make you feel silly for not knowing it.
And really helped you to feel like you could learn a lot and then could have that, you could have that knowledge that you could then take with you and have a great conversation with designers and builders, and have a great project.
And so when it came to do a paid course with Undercover Architect, I just felt like it was money really well invested. Because the amount that you pay for the course would well and truly cover all the mistakes you’re probably going to make because you didn’t know all that information. So for me, it just made sense that we were getting supported, and had a lot of knowledge at the same time.
So the money that we spend on the course was well and truly going to be money that we’re saving in the long run because we would be avoiding making mistakes with our renovation
What are you doing differently because of this Undercover Architect course?
So because of all the information that we’ve gathered from doing the Undercover Architecture course, it’s helped us to work out where would be the best spot to place things in our home, according to the orientation, which is something I hadn’t really thought of before.
So it really helped us to refine our concepts of where we would put things in the home. Depending on where the sun rises and sets and how to best use the space that we’ve got.
How have you benefited from doing Undercover Architect’s courses?
So when it came to choosing a designer, the information that we had learned from Undercover Architect really helped us to have a checklist of things that we would like a designer to be able to help us with.
And then, you know, it saved time, because we could quickly look at designer websites and sort of know quite quickly just from the information they provide, whether they’re really going to be a great fit for us or not, in terms of the service that we wanted. And so that saved time, so that we had a shortlist then, of designers that we would like to work with, and we contacted a few.
And then with the answers that the designers came back with, the information that we’d learned from Undercover Architect then helped us to make a choice on who was going to be a great fit for our project.
Did the Undercover Architect course save you drama + stress?
I feel that working with Amelia from Undercover Architect will really help us mostly to feel supported.
I really love the online Facebook group that she has, when you do join the course. So that you can ask questions, and her team and herself are so good at getting back to you with any questions that you might have about your project, as well as all the other members that are also going through the same thing as you or similar thing as you.
So I really enjoyed that level of support that you continue to get once you’ve done an online course, because that’s what’s going to help us keep momentum during our project and see it through to completion.
Yeah, in the Facebook group in the community of Undercover Architect, people will often ask questions, or they’ll share some advice, or hiccup that they might have had that they want to give everyone a heads up on of how to avoid.
So it really is a valuable resource so that you can ask questions, and also read and see that questions get answered just by seeing other people’s experiences.
What was the best thing about being an Undercover Architect course member?
I think the best thing for our project and for myself, has been the support and the knowledge that Amelia from Undercover Architect has given already, and that I can see she will continue to provide in the future.
There’s a fortnightly question and answer that she does run with the Facebook group. So there’s continual support there. And so it’s that support that, is going to be the most valuable thing for us.
What would you say to others thinking of joining this Undercover Architect course?
I’d say if you’re sitting on the fence about where you think it’s really worth it to do an online course with Undercover Architect, then really do it. Because we’ve found that there’s so much, and like Amelia does say, you don’t know what you don’t know. And that’s been a real catch cry that’s made sense to me, because it’s so true.
As you get lead through all of the intricacies of the design and building phases of a project, if you’re not in the design or building industry yourself, you realise how much you need to know, so that you’ve got control and power over your project and to get it right. So it’s really invaluable. We’ve loved it.
Amelia is such a beautiful person. She really does care about your project, and I really love that she is really keen to help as many people as she can. So we’ve really enjoyed it.