Top Tips On Renovating Successfully From Balance Architecture + Interior Design

Victorian Home fully restored

Victorian Home fully restored

During the year the team from Balance Architecture + Interior Design have shared some great tips for successful renovations. We have chosen their top tips and put them together in this year-end blog:

The first tip is to list the positive and negative features of a space.  Consider carefully what works well and what doesn’t, think about what you love about it and what you want to get rid of, also what needs changing. What is the purpose of the space? How can it best work for you and your family?  Try to anticipate any likely changes to your lifestyle in the future that will affect the space.

The second tip is when renovating a heritage home to do it with great care and respect for the history and original design concepts of the building. Sensitivity to the heritage overlays, council requirements and structural condition of your home will save you much time and angst. Architects and Interior Designers, such as Andrew Fedorowicz and Amanda Richmond, that have the experience and knowledge required for heritage renovations will ensure an end result that resonates with the true history of your home.

The third tip is to detect any problems in the building that require addressing before embarking upon structural changes and beautification.  For example, a damp house is a serious problem, causing building defects, health problems and can be costly to repair if the issue is not addressed promptly. Types of dampness are condensation/horizontal/falling and most commonly, rising damp.

The fourth tip is to create space. Amanda Richmond recommends creating a view from room to room, such as overlooking a lower level from an upper level or through placement of windows to capture the outside vista. Use colour to visually move between spaces, remember that darker colours advance, lighter colours retract. Define spaces by using contrasting materials and remember a fluid movement through the space helps create the illusion of more space.

Specialist Renovations For Heritage Homes

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The renovation or remodelling of a heritage home is a specialist project. Owners want to maintain the integrity of the architectural style and unique period features, but also need to create a space suitable for modern living. Architect Andrew Fedorowicz (A.R.A.I.A.) and Interior Designer Amanda Richmond, of Balance Architecture + Interior Design are experts in heritage renovation.

Andrew Fedorowicz has been in private practice for 34 years specialising in heritage work and is vastly experienced in Architectural practice, from design to construction. With a strong eye for detail and a comprehensive understanding of structural engineering and associated disciplines Andrew has major experience in complex restorations. The recipient of major awards from both the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and the Housing Industry Association, Andrew works at the highest level of architectural excellence.

Amanda Richmond is a Past President and current fellow at the Design Institute of Australia through its Victorian chapter. She excels at creating an integrated, pleasing interior for heritage homes. Her award winning designs are contemporary yet sympathetic to the past style and grace of historical and period homes, creating elegant, liveable, stylish interiors that make a house a home.  With 18 years’ experience running her own building company specialising in heritage renovations, she is well versed in Architectural administration and Interior Design.

It is imperative to understand the finer points of an interior design that fully integrates with the heritage of a building. The team from Balance Architecture + Interior Designs can deliver on both the authenticity of the heritage style in their  renovations well as creating an interior that reflects the personality and style of the home owner.

Tasteful Victorian Home Renovation Tips

The Victorians loved colour, culture, collecting and clutter. The richness of their colour schemes can be seen in textiles, ceramics and paint.  Plasterwork, particularly ceilings, were no exception.  We are all familiar with the lovely ceiling roses in Victorian homes and how often have you seen them tastefully painted? Often as not they are either overdone with inappropriate colouring or painted in the same colour as the ceiling with no additional definition. Such a waste of a beautiful decorative feature.

A renovation of a Victorian home undertaken by Amanda Richmond Chief Interior Designer at Balance Architecture + Interior Design featured a gorgeous ceiling rose but it had been painted by an amateur and it showed. The colours were segmented and separated. Whilst pink and green may be complementary opposites on the colour wheel, the painter had used pure green colour against pastel pink with a custard yellow in between. The body of the ceiling rose was left unpainted with dobs of gold appearing on featured rosettes. In combination this colour scheme was harsh, clashing and not restful to the eye.

Jarring colours applied to ceiling rose

Jarring colours applied to ceiling rose

Amanda applied a softer tone on tone colour scheme with a soft cream replacing harsh white. Detailed colours added to the centre of the ceiling rose were copied from colours in the wall paper frieze, which had been repeated in the cornice also. The design idea is that colours must have a reason for being there and should harmonise with other elements in the room.

Colour chosen by Interior Designer harmonise

You can see in the images the before and after effects and how jarring the original paintwork was compared to the soothing, harmonising colours applied during the renovation.

Sensitive Restoration Of A Heritage Beauty

Victorian Home fully restored

Victorian Home fully restored

A charming Victorian home has been tastefully and carefully restored to feature it’s original distinctive design, materials and workmanship. The original slate roof was badly damaged, the verandah had been modified over time and the chimneys were still as they were built but in poor condition. The verandah had been enclosed by filling in the vertical externals, which detracted from the original heritage style of the facade.

 Victorian home before restoration, verandah enclosed

Verandah has been enclosed on this Victorian home

Architect Andrew Fedorowicz of Balance Architecture + Interior Design was commissioned to lead the restoration, due to his immense experience at heritage restoration and renovation. The verandah was restored as it would have been originally built with new lacework cast from original pieces. New timber posts were installed with sand cast capitals to match the original verandah and new tessellated floor tiles were installed in a traditional Terracotta and Wheat Octagon and Dot pattern.

Unfortunately, the original slate roof was too badly damaged to restore, resulting in an entirely new slate roof being built. The building was further restored with the addition of new Gable detailing, which was re‐instated having been destroyed or removed from the original roof. A careful rebuild of the chimneys was achieved using the original bricks, which gives the building a wonderful completion.

This type of renovation requires a sensitive and informed Architect to restore the building in an authentic way to it’s former design and style features.  The team at Balance Architecture +Interior Design, Andrew Fedorowicz creating the architectural design elements and Amanda Richmond styling the interior, are often called upon to recreate the charms and delights of yesteryear buildings.

Interior Design Period Ceiling Detailing

Decorative cornice in Victorian home

Decorative cornice in Victorian home

Amanda Richmond from Balance Architecture + Interior Design is a specialist in creating sympathetic interiors for heritage homes and fully appreciates and understands the design elements of these lovely, historic homes. When it comes to Victorian houses she informs us that the front rooms of a Victorian dwelling, regardless of size, were generally considered more formal than the rear of the house. Their ceilings boasted elaborate plaster detailing such as gutter cornices, ceiling roses and corbel arches. This plaster work was complemented by wallpaper which was applied to walls and ceilings, adding visual richness to the room; this included highly detailed cornice papers. Solid plastering, wallpaper hanging and master painting were all considered highly skilled and valued decorating trades.


When decorating an interior to resonate with the original design elements of a Victorian home extensive preparation work is required to ensure walls and ceilings are smooth, clear of defects and dust prior to hanging wallpaper or painting. Stunning decorative statements are made by reflecting the colours that are in the wallpaper body and frieze. In the image you can see how colours have been chosen for the cornice to reflect the colours in the frieze paper, with a special ‘surprise colour’ of turquoise found in the body of the frieze copied onto the leading edge of the plaster gutter. The turquoise lifts the other colours, drawing the eye to the cornice.


Balance Architecture + Design designed these colourways for a recent interior design project completed for a lovely Victorian home. Haymes paints were used and the colours chosen were ‘Beech Forest, ‘Turf green’ and Rubicon; the surprise colour was Blue Sapphire.