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Owners of Federation share their top budget tips from their latest renovation

Jenny Joblin and Ben Dundas tell us what they learned from their latest renovation and share their top budget tips. See their eclectic home below

Meet + Greet

Jenny Joblin, 40 (creator/creative director of Federation and Somekind), Ben Dundas, 35 (menswear designer at Federation), Ryder, 13, Monte, 11, and Dusty, 9, plus cats Batman, Ginger Ninja and Sugar, and kittens Sushi Chef, Noodle Master and Oreo.

Reno secrets

  • Surround yourself with what you love.
  • Use quality products as much as possible.
  • Go with shades that you can envisage living with long-term on walls and built-in furniture, then choose soft furnishings or pieces of art to fulfil your need for colour.
  •  Get samples of tiles and carpet and pop them into your life for a few days to see how the light hits them at different times of day.
  • Don’t be afraid of breaking a renovation into a couple of stages to get the result you want without stretching your finances.

Best lessons learned?

Jenny: Be patient! There’s no point rushing because of money. It’s better to wait until you have the funds to do things the way you want, if it’s something that’s super-important to you.

What do you love most about your home?

Probably the carpet – we just love it! Paying a bit more for high quality and thicker underlay was so worth it.

Most memorable experience you have had in your home?

We had Christmas lunch here with all our family that are currently located in New Zealand, which was so great. We did a big grazing platter through the middle of the long table. That’s something we had in mind when we did the renovation: enough room for family and friends to hang out and have meals together.

Save or splurge

What areas of your home did you save on? Splurge on?

Our biggest splurge was our flooring; we went with rough-sawn American oak. We just oiled it, with black fill in the holes. It has a whole lot of life and character, and if someone down the track wants to sand and polish it, they can. We also love the mitres on the steps. We went with Corian for the benchtops and we love our large moulded sink. We used marble for benchtops in our previous house and loved it but found it a bit fragile for a family, so here we just used marble accents in other areas.

We saved by getting the doors all sent away to be sprayed as some of them were in a state (rather than buying new). Then we just popped new black handles and hinges on them.

Budget tips

Do you tend to buy high-end homeware or seek out a bargain?

We love a bargain. We tend to switch between a luxury item that we just adore and a Trade Me purchase. Either way, we only buy things we love.

Best advice when it comes to spending money on a home?

Think of what is important to your family and yourselves as individuals and put this in the mix with what will be important to potential homeowners in the future.

How did you keep track of costs during renovations?

Keeping track of costs is fairly easy due to our business roles. I did an overall budget, plus a bit of contingency, which of course all got swallowed up. And then, just as we had almost finished, our gas unit needed replacing. So we just had to wait another couple of months to finish the brass details – it’s best to do that rather than compromise with something cheap and just have it bug you later on.

See more of the home below


Words by: Tina Stephen. Photography by: Helen Bankers.

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