• James Treble

Renovate or Rebuild?

Let's say your current home doesn’t satisfy your family’s needs but you’re happy with the area, the street you bought in and the size of your block. It’s one of the biggest questions facing families considering how their home meets their needs: should I Renovate Or Rebuild? Which of these two is the best choice for you? Should you remove some walls, change the floor-plan, extend up or out? Renovating is a great option if the “bones” of your home are in good order, but it can be restrictive, and possibly no amount of changes might alter the home enough to satisfy your needs, while the Rebuilding plan might provide your desired options. Depending upon the amount of changes required (are these are structural?) a rebuild may also cheaper too... Chances are that while being undecided between one option and the other many people let time go by, and accept the struggle of living in a home that doesn't make them happy. If you too are in this situation, then there are a few words of advice I'd like to give to help you get started ...

all images in this page courtesy of 'Renovate Or Rebuild' show


For your wellbeing and that of your family, you should first understand what you can reasonably afford to spend, and adjust your building or renovation plans and expectations to fit within it, and I don't mean to choose cheaper quality items to save money, but rather to plan your renovation/rebuild so some steps can be postponed if necessary, or some of the finishes may be cost-effective to allow more budget for important items. Also, I suggest you leave some funding aside to cover for unexpected glitches along the way. It's not everybody's case, but I have seen things go wrong, like bad weather forcing work to a halt, unforeseen aged items needing replacement, delayed deliveries of building materials, misunderstandings with the trades... The way to prepare for this is good planning, and by dealing with quality trades and experienced contractors you can alleviate any unexpected issues with allowances in your contract or an allotted amount of money, which if not used for your renovation or build, is a bonus for that outdoor kitchen or upgraded landscape plan.


Whether renovating or rebuilding, I always look for quality items which will perform well and last, and this may require adjustments to your wish list: once you know the plan of action you can choose what can possibly be postponed [e.g. the additional cabinetry in the laundry, the storage shelving in the garage, the ‘WOW” landscaping ... ] and focus your energy and available budget towards quality items which you should not do without. I always alert my clients against cheap finishes as despite them thinking they're saving money, cheap flooring, low budget tap-ware or window fixtures will perform badly, meaning that all you save now, will cost you later, requiring fixing or replacing much sooner than expected. My advice is: buy only quality items and resign to the fact that some parts of your home may not be ready or finished to your ultimate vision, until the budget allows. Patience will ultimately reward you with a home you truly deserve.

all images in this page courtesy of 'Renovate Or Rebuild' show


Besides opting for solutions and finishes meant to last, think of how your family is evolving and make choices that will work for it. For example, you may wish for a larger family, or your children are growing fast and soon will be teenagers, needing separate rooms. Should a granny-flat be considered for your ageing parents, the independent child, or to use as an office, or even possibly for additional rental income... As you plan your renovation or rebuild spend some time to explore the possibilities, dream big and then downsize if you have to, because understanding your wishes now, will help you achieve solutions that are flexible for the future, without having to restructure your home once again. Be realistic, but try thinking outside the box, as a rejig of your existing floor plan, can completely transform the way you live in your home... OR rebuilding may be the way to achieve the best results and capitalise on your block's location or views. There is no ‘one answer fits all' option, as every home and family are different, and the way our homes affect our lives is always a worthwhile discussion. Where to get inspiration?

We are charmed by so many shows on TV, exciting us with amazing renovations and property sales with impressive profits... but if you love where you live, and think the home you're in can work far better for your family’s needs then Renovate Or Rebuild is the inspiring new show you don't want to miss! In this 30-minute lifestyle show two teams compete to convince a Sydney-based family they have the best solution to creating a healthier, more spacious and energy efficient home for the owners. Team Renovate, headed by former Ch9 The Block contestants Michael and Carlene believe the family should renovate their existing home, while Team Rebuild led by The Block’s Norm and Jess think the family should knock down and rebuild. The two solutions are judged by an expert panel on style, sustainability, and cost but ultimately the decision will come down to the family - will they renovate or rebuild? If you haven't already, I invite you to watch the first episode, talk about it and let us know what you think.

Renovate or Rebuild is created around the idea of a Positive Energy Home - a home that is healthy, efficient, comfortable, and a home that creates more energy than it consumes, but is functional and beautiful to love in. But it’s also about understanding the positives and negatives of the existing home and why to renovate it, compared to the pros and cons of rebuilding a home, providing the viewer with practical information. If you have more questions, explore the website ( to see how everybody can achieve the perfect home every family deserves.

James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has 3 decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design and regularly shares his knowledge and experience in adding value to homes through clever design & styling. Watch his free videos on YouTube, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram for more free information.


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How to increase real estate value. Cherie Barber & James Treble Interior Design For Profit Best Online Course. Australia UK USA. Study and learn from the professionals. Years of proven renovation experience and successful business practice. Designer Stylist Decorator Renovator Real Estate Agent teaches you how to make the most out of your property value when selling renting out or for yourself and your own home. Decorate the house, Style the apartment, learn how to and DIY Do It Yourself with easy instructions and earn money.
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