Preparing the living room for paint

When renovating the inside of a villa, there are a few things you need to consider. Do you keep it traditional to its character, or modernise so when you’re inside it’s like you’re in a new home. This is particularly important when starting in the living room like us.Traditionally, villas were designed to face the street, leaving little planning as to where the sun will be and what time of the day it will be there. That being said as you enter our house you walk straight into our living area, it sets the tone for the house, the atmosphere for the space so of course should be well considered.

There was little connection between the areas of the house, no flow means enclosed spaces ultimately making the house seem small and not overly entertainment friendly. The living room had also played subject to a DIYer who really didn’t care about what they were doing, bubbles behind painted wallpaper, ripples from earthquake movement that were plastered over and more dodgy botch jobs than a plastic surgery in LA.

Renovating our living room

It’s exciting renovating, but can be extremely overwhelming from the get-go. Where do you start? What will the investment be and is it worth it? What can you do yourself and what should you get a tradie for and of course, how is it all going to pull together at the end?

We learned a few things in the preparation stage that we thought is worth sharing for first time renovators as essentially, that’s what we were!

Stage 1 – Research and Plan

Some people will start with a spreadsheet, others start with a timeline, we start with a mood board. Knowing what you want is far more valuable to the project than knowing how much money you have in the bank. If you start by making a mood board of what a living space in your home will feel like in your eyes, you can start being realistic with your self in terms of what style you actually like and will it actually work in your home.Check out our mood boards for living rooms and Villas, they certainly helped us narrow down the mass of ideas that we had.

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Useful places to collate information from:

  • Pinterest – Easy to create boards and share them with your partner or family so they can attribute their thoughts.  You can also pin directly from the internet if you stumble upon an image you like.
  • Instagram – Our favourite for getting feedback from people and inspiration from accounts you like to follow.  We often search hashtags like #nzhomes #villarestoration #characterhome
  • Facebook Groups – Ask questions on Groups like NZ Home decor tips tricks and advice, ask for photos from people that have done the same thing, this is great because it’s real life – not staged imagery.
  • Your home and garden magazine – Amazing for New Zealand home renovations and they share content that is relevant and helps.

Now is a good time to start ordering swatches from places like Resene and Dulux to match them to the decor you have or confirm that they are hitting the mood board vibe. Smaller things like getting switches and lights are easy to do while work is being done and gets you out of the house while the paint dries!

Stage 2 – Price and Timeline

If you are making structural changes or working with several professionals, it’s important to take your time to be 100% on everything before you begin so that you are less likely to have regrets when you are finished. Get quotes from at least x3 people and always look for credibility. Websites like are always failsafe for finding the expert tradesman for the job.

The price at this stage is indicative of where you came to with your mood board. We always spreadsheet money we have spent on renovations to keep an eye on not over-capitalising and it also helps us be realistic as to what is a reasonable budget for each room. For our lounge, we were happy to go a little extra higher as it does set the tone for the house and is the room we spend the most time in and leaves the first impression for guests. At this stage, it’s a good opportunity also to find out what you can do to save cost that won’t disturb the professionals.


Who we used:


For the skim coating, we used Dans Decorating. Dan did my parents house who are long-time renovators and couldn’t recommend him enough. You know you have great tradies when they walk in and make you feel super comfortable, it really shows in the finish of his work how experienced he is!


We had to remove all the switches and plugs so Dan and Ryan could do their thing so of course used Todd from Rossiter Electrical. Like Dan, Todd makes everything easy as and is fantastic at providing advice on lighting and switch types etc.


Our Friend Ryan who is a qualified builder removed a door and a non-structural wall and had that sorted in no time, he’s a pro with his own home reno on the go.

Stage 3 – Prep work and completion

This part probably seems the longest of the lot because by this stage you’re so excited that you’re finally here – but it’s still not done, yet.


Do what you can to prepare, it also gives you a sense of involvement too. We stripped all of our wallpaper using a $60 KMART garment steamer – lifesaver. We also applied a pigment sealer after sanding the walls to hide the hideous pink and every other colour under the sun before Dan came in to do his amazing magic like work with the plaster.

We tried to make it as clean as possible in the area for the tradies so when they come in it’s easy to find what they are looking for. Preparation is difficult and you may start wishing you never started. In the grand scheme of things it’s very little work for the amount of satisfaction you’ll get from it – so persevere! It’s funny, you start to understand your house so much more when you take sheets of plaster and GIB off the walls, you see its imperfections and then find some quirk and beauty in it too.

From here, it’s over to the finishing touches to get the room done – stay tuned for more info on our reno!



A guide to washing your house

There’s something satisfying about a perfectly manicured home, you walk past a house around the corner on your morning stroll, and you wonder how they get it looking so damn perfect! Chances are, they spend endless hours maintaining it so their investment has kerb appeal.
If you want to give your home more kerb appeal, an important place to start is by washing it. Think how good a car looks when you wash it, a house is much the same. I’ve recently got a Ryobi pressure washer so thought where best to try it out than washing our house on a 30 degree summers day. Before I proceeded, I researched if the pressure washer was the right choice for our house (an early 1900’s villa check it out on our Instagram).
Not all surfaces can handle the powerful jet of a pressure washer; plaster and brick can be damaged when using one. Below I’ve outlined tips on how to get the job done right and your house shining for the warmer months.


Our little Kitchen goes black

We are proud owners of a gorgeous villa in Christchurch. It’s seen some interesting times throughout its grand life and lived through the Christchurch Earthquakes with just a few scars. Our home was built the same year as the construction of the original press building started (1909) so as you can imagine, it has some charm!

Black is the new Black

The previous owners of our villa painted all the walls white and modernised the bathroom and kitchen, we are huge lovers keeping heritage but complementing it with modern accents. Our Kitchen has been a topic of conversation between us for a while, I (Shayden) am drawn to black hardware, it comes with a price tag but damn it looks good!
While throwing a small tantrum in the aisle at Bunnings because they had no black door knobs I marched with haste toward the spray paint cabinet and got a few cans of my old friend Dulux Duramax… in Black Satin so it’s a nice compromise between Matte and Gloss. As I was spraying the door knobs I decided I’ll test the spare kitchen cabinetry handles because I’ve been wanting to upgrade to black since the open home.

The first one turned out so good I had them all off and hanging off the clothes line within 10 minutes! I gave them a good clean and then 3 coats of paint with an hours drying time between coats (you only need 10 minutes with Duramax).

Our Kitchen feels like a new one with the edgy lines of the black against the white cabinetry, black adds a level of industrial to our home which ties in nicely with the character. We spend so much time in the Kitchen with the morning sun coming through there’s nothing better than a cup of tea and some brekkie at our up-cycled table and chairs!



Thinking of taking this approach to your Kitchen – do it!!


Going back to the 60’s

Mooch style chairs

The 1960’s, a decade of revolution and rebellion, the world stood up and flipped tradition the bird and finally found itself.

People weren’t just pushing the boundaries politically they were changing the way we look at things architecturally and functionally, air travel was on the up making accessibility to the biggest furniture houses in the world possible. Meanwhile in little old New Zealand we had tightened up on importing to boost internal industry, managing to pick up a few danish residents after WWII and our own designers coming into their own with Scandinavian furniture design we had the likes of Danske Mobler, Airest, D A Lewis & Co and DON Furniture crafting what we know today as mid century furniture and damn did they do a good job!

The 1960’s produced timeless pieces that have stood the test of time both aesthetically and functionally.

When I found two mid-century kitchen chairs I had to have them, the 60’s gave us quality furniture so I knew all they would need is a coat of paint and some new fabric to take them back to the day they were in the shop.

Mooch style chairsI got them home and had a good look at my new chairs appreciating the quality of them. This is also when I try to place what I will do with them.  I could have applied a bohemian look or just went for a plain white approach but I wanted to keep the decades vibe.  Georgia suggested we go for a bright frame and tone down the fabric – what a beaut idea it was!

Mooch Style fabricLike children in a candy store we were soon amongst the fabric waiting for something to catch our eyes.  I spotted a white fabric with a gold honeycomb pattern which was a winner instantly, the honey comb ties into the eras vibe and resurgence of creativity. Dulux Go Go blue was with out a doubt the best choice to match with this fabric, cyan was at it’s best in the 60’s so Go Go it was!

Mooch style chairsThe process…

Im going to make this short so you know what you are in for when you choose to do this your self. Starting a project like this you firstly need to make sure you have the tools for the job.

What you need:

  1. Staple gun
  2. Staples
  3. Fabric
  4. 120 grit sand paper
  5. Cloth to wipe down
  6. Hammer
  7. Flat head screw driver
  8. Iron
  9. Scissors
  10. Craft knife

I watch a lot of YouTube clips on how to do things whenever I up-cycle furniture you should do this too (it helps). Fabric isn’t the easiest thing to work with so it takes a bit of patience but is super rewarding at the end of it.

I firstly pulled everything apart, having a small flat head screw driver helps with tacks and and stubborn pieces. I started with a piece of white tee shirt material to make the cushions soft, wrapping around the edges and stapling as I went. When I was finished I then did the same with the honeycomb fabric I chose.Mooch style chairsOnce this was finished I then had to edge the upper cushions, I cut a long piece of fabric and folded it over x3 times and press ironed it to be rigid. Using the original tacks (I liked the rust look) and the original edging for a guide I then hammered in the tacks, it covers up the messy stapling quite nicely. The bottom cushion is much easier, I always use white card for the base to cover the staples and fabric.Mooch style chairs I then got to work on the frame, it’s paint job looked like it had been to war! I sanded it back to a smooth state and then wiped down with a damp cloth. Using a Dulux metal primer I gave it x2 coats leaving it an hour in between coats.

Once dry I then used the Go Go Blue – shit I love this colour! I gave it x3 coats and 1 coat of clear plastic coat (same brand).Mooch style chairs

Mooch style chairsAs you can see they came up great!  Im so happy with them and i’m even happier that I can give something that was over 40 years old a new life for hopefully another 40 years.

If you have something you want our advice on – please do get in touch!

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A new life for a side board

Up cycled side board

They don’t make furniture like they used to. I think we have all purchased a bargain buy at Kmart or the warehouse, spent a few hours putting it together then soon realised there is a reason it is so cheap.

When I won this piece on TradeMe the lady told me that she was going to take it to the dump because it was rubbish, well I bloody showed her haha!


When I got this sideboard home it was obvious that it was a solid piece and in pretty good shape. I sanded it back and was confused as to what I could do to make this beauty look any good, the side panels were a different wood to the drawers which made it look terrible and it had a horrible veneer stripping on all the edges, it honestly looked like one of nanas patchwork quilts….. to my paint box I went!!

I noticed I had two cans of Dulux Duramax Tranquil Retreat and this would cover this piece easily! The top had a really nice woodgrain and the drawers matched so I decided to keep them natural as well as the backboard.

Once the shell was dry I went down to Mitre10 to get some fine grit disks for my sander to finish the wood, I was walking past the rope section and had a thought that a white rope handle would match the paint and wood perfectly, so I took some of that too!

Upcycled side board - moochstyle

What was once destined for the tip is now a piece that I don’t want to part with, unfortunately we have our quota of up-cycles so this will be off to a loving family haha.

We are loving getting creative with furniture.  New Zealand needs more up-cycled furniture in our homes,  We can’t wait to own our own home one day and fill it with our up-cycles (fingers crossed that’s this year)

Side Board styled in lounge

Rope handles for drawersBlonde wood furnitureUp cycled side board



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DIY – Herringbone Table

I managed to get my hands on a really funky mid-century style table.

It was in reasonable condition so I was on the hunt for some inspiration to up-cycle the table. I have always admired the geometric designs that people are starting to incorporate into their designs, they take a bit of skill and patience to execute.  With a free weekend ahead I thought “RIGHT – it’s my time to give this a nudge”!!!

I am so glad I tried this – the end result is amazing, it always helps using Dulux’s Duramax paints because they do such a great job at hardening fast so you can get to work with the taping right away.

Grab a coffee (and some cake) and i’ll run you through how I DIY-ed my own herringbone pattern on mid century coffee table.


STEP 1 – Choose colours and prep

Dulux duramax paint

Colours for me are the hardest part, I like to up-cycle to my style however I up-cycle to sell so I have to think where this piece will go.  I chose neutral colours for this project so it can be utilised in a lounge – office or bedroom!

Shopping list…..

  • Frog tape – low adhesion and wont take paint with it
  • Undercoat – 1 can
  • Base colour – 1 can
  • Herringbone design colour – 1 can
  • Top clear coat – 1 can
  • Craft Knife
  • Ruler
  • Newspaper
  • Pencil
  • Beer/wine (for in between coats – essential*****)


STEP 2 – Sand

She was in an okay state – but still needed a good tidy up before I started painting.

Using an orbital sander (really cheap from Bunnings or Mitre 10) I went around the outside trim and the top of the table trying not to take off too much as the outside was veneer. I sanded it back so all the polyurethane was gone and it was ready to undercoat.

Step 3 – Undercoat

ALWAYS buy a matching undercoat for your paint, if you don’t know what you need, just ask the shop attendants – they do an amazing job at telling you what you need! Wipe your furniture down with a microfibre cloth before starting to make sure all dust etc is removed.

Undercoat twice and sand very lightly with a light grit between each coat (this will promote adhesion between layers).

Step 4 – Paint the base colour

Up-cycled mid century table

I used Duramax Antique white USA gloss, if your piece is in great condition you could even leave the top wood (I wish this piece was). The Antique white is AMAZING – I use it for every white as its not a white where you need sunglasses to look at it.

I gave my piece three coats – allowing to dry 30 minutes between coats and sanding in between (you know why!)

I let the table dry inside overnight to allow it to off-gas and do its harden thing.

Step5 – Tape herringbone

Heringbone design




Follow this guide and you will be loving the end result.

  1. Measure the mid point on either end horizontal and vertical and put a light pencil mark
  2. Put tape along the middle on either the left or right side and this will act as a guide.
  3. Choose the width that you want the herringbone to be in total, I chose 160mm – mark in three places vertically and tape on the outer edge of the points.
  4. Now you are ready to choose the angle of the herringbone with a piece of tape as your width guide, start at one end and continue up the length of the table, use a piece of tape as your spacer each time to keep consistent with your angle.
  5. Once you have completed one side you will be ready to start on the other edge, with a ruler and pencil, square two pints on the opposite side so you can duplicate the angle.  Once you have done one its very easy from there.
  6. Use each point to line the new side up wth so the shapes align and don’t stagger.
  7. Once you have completed the second line you can then begin the cutting, make sure your blade is nice and sharp!  Run your ruler along the middle and cut wherever the tape overlaps (lightly).  You can then cut out each shape that will be painted (every second in a line).
  8. Once this is done you have probably just polished off your 5th bottle of wine and starting to open the beers (the result is at the end – I promise).
  9. Using newspaper tape all edges off so there is no bleed
  10. PAINT!  x2 coats, not too heavy otherwise you will have risk of bleed and thick edges.
  11. I let each coat dry for 10 minutes and then peeled off the tape nice and slowly.
  12. Now you are patting your self on the back – you can now touch up any paint with spaying on a paint brush if any has come off and touching up. Spray the finished piece once or twice with a clear coat and let dry for a few hours before styling.

I really loved this – it pushed my boundaries as an up-cycler (is that even a thing?)

I really hope you give this a go and let me know how you get on via instagram @moochstyle or facebook @moochstyle  or commenting below!

Here is how I have styled it.



Colour pop dresser

I have been dying to sink my teeth into a new up-cycle project for so long and use the new Duramax paints from Dulux (i’ve heard good things and the colours are amazing).  I decided with this piece that I would post a before photo on our Facebook page and ask our followers what they would like to see. It was really cool to hear what people would recommend we had recommendations of greys, blacks, chalkboard, chalk paint and then one person said white with pastels. The Dulux colour range is more vibrant but worked perfectly!

The prepping stage

When you get to prepping your furniture this often confuses people as they don’t know if they have to send the piece or if they can spray directly onto it. I always sand my furniture lightly if it doesn’t have many blemishes. You can remove the coating completely if it is old and flaking. I highly recommend an orbital sander for this or if you’re sanding it lightly just use a 180 grit sand paper so you lightly break the clear film so the paint will stick better.

You should always undercoat your furniture using the matching undercoat for the paint that you are about to use. If you are wanting to have vibrant colours use a white under coat, if you are wanting your colour to be mid toned much like the cap shows – use a Grey undercoat.


Painting after undercoated

Now for the fun stage and in our case we had three different colours: yellow blue and pink. I marked on the inside of the drawers where they were positioned in line with each other originally so I wasn’t painting two blues and two pinks right beside each other. I painted all the blues first one coat then I put them aside and painted the pinks and then the yellows by this stage the paint was hard enough to apply a second coat on the blue, this is the advantage of using Duramax by Dulux.

Once the draws were all painted I put them away inside and started painting the shell. It’s really important here to make sure that anything you have already painted is well out of the way of spray –  trust me the stuff can travel miles.  You want to be aiming to paint your furniture with three coats minimum, once you have finished painting your three coats you can then use an acrylic over gloss to harden the topcoat and prevent any scratching/chipping in the future.


If you’re eager like me and want to get it into the house to style straight away…. Don’t do it!!!! You want to be keeping your furniture in the garage or a room for at least three days before putting anything on it to ensure that it has off-gassed and the paint has hardened 100%. Trust me this will avoid any heartache from paint chipping or denting.


Let us know what you think of our finished piece. We are so happy with it, it may possibly be one of our favourite pieces. Using multiple colours like this is a really cool way of bringing something different into your home without having to pay for everything to be in a new colour scheme. The multiple colours will suit any space, and what’s best is you have a one-off piece and everyone wants it.

Paint can be purchased from DULUX.CO.NZ or your local Bunnings / ask for the duramax range.

Georgias Raleigh 20


Valentines day was coming up and I was wondering what I could get Georgia. Georgia doesn’t ask for much so it’s always hard to find her something because I want to get her something that really means something special to her, so this year I got her a bike! A bike means time away from reality, it’s just us chilling out together which we both appreciate after work away from home.

These bikes are going to be great for nipping down to the markets or cafe on a Saturday morning too.

I hunted EVERYWHERE as I wanted to get her a bike similar to my vintage Healing loline so I was travelling far and wide to see the best vintage bike shops around, I even lined up at eco-store for 40 minutes to waiting for the fork lift dude to stop what he was doing and just let me have a look (bailed and it was definitely noted haha). Here’s a tip from an old veteran, go to “Around again cycles”  and use the code word “up stairs” MIND BLOWN!!!!!  1000s of vintage bikes.

I ended up finding a Raleigh 20 on TradeMe that was in really good condition from the original owners. This machine was made in Hastings NZ and it even folds in half!
I wanted to surprise Georgia on Valentines day with it but she found me day one stripping it so changed direction to her helping me scrubbing me scrub the rust off haha. I painted the frame Hyssop by Dulux Duramax and the white is Gloss white also by Dulux.  I then applied 2 coats of gloss acrylic hardener and she came up beaut!  I brought a basket from B.A.S.I.C bikes in Christchurch and wheeled it out on Valentines day with brunch food in the basket and a picnic blanket ready to go on mine then biked down the cycle path to a park.



What do you think of the colour? Georgia loves her Raleigh 20!!!

Paint: Dulux Duramax
Basket: BASIC Bikes 

My Healing loline restoration

 My friends and I have been toying with the idea of doing a fridge to fridge.  This is where you get on your bike have a few at one place and then off to the next.  I didn’t have a bike so thought a vintage gem would be right on the money!

I was instantly on the hunt for a vintage bike, had added a few to my watch list on trade me and then fell in love with a Healing Loline. If you are over the age of 35 and are from New Zealand you will most likely know what this is.

It’s a fixed gear 1960’s, cruiser. Built in the 1960’s and 1970’s here in New Zealand by a company called Morison and Healing. The government of the day even played a part in the Healing bicycles’ history; they stopped 90% of bike imports from entering the country to help boost the demand for New Zealand made bikes. They were onto something getting people out of the muscle cars and onto the shovey’s.

These bad boys are very uncommon now days with the increase of vintage look bicycles on the road, I was brought up to appreciate the yesteryear and there is something about having people come up and admire the bike they once had and you instantly know that regardless of how amazing your handy paint work is they just love that you are still enjoying what they enjoyed way back when (parent’s if you’re reading this it so wasn’t back when).

 She was in pretty bad shape – rideable but what a rust bucket!!  It just needed a bit of love and im totally the man to bring it back into the current year.  We had just been given a heap of paint through a a comp we won via DULUX so I was sorted for undercoat, base coat, sparkle and gloss! The tyres were shagged so I went on down to my mates at Cycle trading co and got the white grips and tyres fitted after I de-rusted the rims.  The chap that owns the show there actually sold these bikes brand new!!!  HOW COOL!!!  I really under estimated the amount of hard work that goes into restoring an old girl like this, lets just say my soft Account Manager hands are still sore haha (sigh).
All details about what I used are below the images, if you have one of these or had one please comment below, im just loving this bike and have just recently completed a Raleigh Twenty for my girlfriend.

Meet the “Spirit Whip”……..

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Wheels and Grips – Cycle Trading Co