Not every renovation needs to break the bank as you can see in the upgrade of this modest post-war house in Sydney’s beachside suburb of Caringbah

The brief from our clients was for an economical solution to the upgrade of a post-war house in Sydney’s southern beaches; the childhood home of the owner.  A strict budget for each area was provided, as well as the request to retain some of the original features, including the owner’s Father’s blue cast iron bath, bathroom joinery and architraves.  The owners also asked to keep the carpet, however with a bit of gentle persuasion we were able to convince them to replace the existing with a pure new wool design.

Our design solution was to pay homage to the style of the existing house and respect the sentimental value it held for the owner while ensuring a fresh new look.  We used lower-cost materials, such as Laminex laminates for kitchen cabinetry and bench tops and wardrobe and designed these areas to reflect the style of the era.  We selected finishes that worked with the 50’s style of the house and some of the client’s retained furniture. Economical Johnson Tiles were paired with more expensive tiles for feature areas in the shower and kitchen splash back, all supplied by My Tiles Haberfield. The existing timber kitchen flooring was sanded and re-stained, window architraves were left unpainted and existing 50’s light fittings were retained in the living areas.

We encouraged the clients to reconsider their initial budget to provide new custom made sheer and block out curtains and carpet. Fabrics were supplied by our curtain manufacturer Design Curtains, using excess stock from commercial projects, providing the clients luxury fabrics at budget prices.  Walls and ceilings were painted in St James Whitting Elementals Collection coloured by Resene zero-VOC paints. Economical options were selected for appliances, fixtures and fittings while not compromising on quality and style.

At St James Whitting we undertake projects to suit all budgets as we know that there are many ways to save on products without sacrificing quality and style. Our ethos is to create the most environmentally sustainable interiors for our clients and re-using, re-cycling and choosing more economical materials is a great way to achieve a quality transformation

This stunning custom made curtain by Design Curtains was made from excess stock from a hospitality project – saving waste and keeping to a modest budget 

We wanted the bedrooms and lounge room to have a soft sense of elegance within the modest interior, whilst providing thermal efficiency in the home with the block out curtains – Kate St James

Laminex Australia Wild Birch  natural woodgrain veneer with quality timber handles were used for the new joinery made by Zarrella Kitchens to complement the exisiting timber work and antique furniture that was sentimental to the owners, the warm cherry wood tones were the perfect complement to the cool blue palette from our Elementals Collection Coloured by Resene – Catherine Whitting

 “We are delighted to be working with Resene Paints to bring our Elementals Designer Paint Collection to Sydney families. We both have a long-standing relationship with the company over several decades and couldn’t be happier to have them as our trusted manufacturer and supplier” Catherine and Kate

Kitchen Designed by St James Whitting Interiors and built by Zarrella Kitchens and Five Dock Tiling Fivedock.

A uniform palette made the tiny two bedroom home seem larger as soft greys and blues meandered through the interior.  The Elementals Collection Grigio was the main wall colour, complemented with Alcatraz Escape as a feature wall to make the antigue dresser POP!

ARTWORK – ETHEREAL by Catherine Whitting

Watercolour and pigment on Japanese washi paper

Limited Edition Giclee Fine Art Prints On Museum Quality Watercolour Paper. 

 For full details of St James Whitting and the artistic collaboration of Kate St James and Catherine Whitting please refer to 

Ethereal is designed to complement any interior painted in the SJW Elementals Collection Ethereal palette






Kitchen benchtop:  Laminex laminate Antarctic Stone
Kitchen cabinets: Laminex laminate Blue Oxide
Kitchen wine racks: Polytech laminate Natural Oak
Kitchen splashback:  Johnson Tiles Spectrum range
Kitchen appliances: Prodigg
Paint walls: St James Whitting Elementals Collection coloured by Resene Breathless
Paint Ceilings: St James Whitting Elementals Collection coloured by Resene Milk White
Carpet: Hycraft 100% wool
Wardrobe: Laminex Wild Birch
Bathroom floor tiles: Ciano 200×200
Bathroom wall tiles: White gloss 200 x 200
Bathroom feature tiles:  Johnson Tiles Spectrum range
Bathroom fittings: Prodigg



CONTACT to discuss your  next home redesign and renovation.




BEFORE PHOTOS – 1950’s estate – with sentimental hand made family elements that were restored in the renovation

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