Welcome to my blog.
I want to introduce myself so you know a little bit about me. I am a single 27-year- old girl who lives in Melbourne with my sister in the home we co-built. Sometimes we have even had roommates along the way, including our four dogs. The dogs, Mischa, Bella, Harlow and Indy are the loves of my life.
I wanted to create this blog to share my love of all things decorating. I really hope you enjoy it.
To start I thought I’d share a bit of my background and why I am so passionate about all things decorating.
Ill take you back to where it all started…
When I left high school at the age of 17 in 2008, I deferred my uni acceptance and decided on a gap year. I think I new I would never actually attend uni, classrooms just weren’t for me. I was more of a creative soul and I found studying really difficult. While lacking direction, I kind of fell into saving my money. It was my first time working full time and saving decent money. I was excited about saving. Soon I had saved $20,000 on barely a minimum wage. I set my first goal…to buy a house before I turned 21. whichincidentally, was the age my parents bought their first house together. At 20 I worked three jobs, saved $50,000, and put a deposit on my first home (a two-storey townhouse).
See photo below:
I bought this property as an investment with no real intention to live there. The off the plan unit was already designed and halfway through the build process when I bought it. I was still happy living with my family and excited at the prospect of renting the townhouse. The rent would help me to pay the mortgage, which seemed like so much money that I felt sure I would never be able to pay it back in my lifetime!
I like to say it was from here that I fell in love with houses and house plans. While I was yet to fall in love with the interior aspect it wouldn’t be long.
With this property I was so money conscious, as you should be with your first property I guess. So when I did finally move in for 6 months all of my furniture was hand me downs from parents, grandparents and from my childhood bedroom. The only new things I bought were a cheap dining table and an IKEA dinner setting but let me tell you I was pretty stoked with that.
Photo below of my second hand and reused pieces:
Fast-forward to me at 24, in 2015. I was finally ready to move out of the family home (It was a case of too many Chiefs and not enough Indians in thathousehold). So at 24 I bought what I thought was going to be my forever home.
Not my first property, but my first real ‘home’:
I intended to rentout part of my home to a roommate. This would help with finances and allow me to have some company. Still I was pretty focused on money at this time and decided to rent out a larger space, squashing myself into a small bedroom so I could ask for more rent. This house was a modest property but in an ideal location for me.
Floorplan of my first real ‘home’:
It was in this house that my fascination shifted, fromhousesand the property market, to interior design and decorating.
When I finally moved in to my new home I realised that it was in much rougher shape than I had expected. When I inspected the house before buying it was full of big furniture hiding all the damage. There where dead mice, damaged walls, and black mould. After some hard yakka cleaning and a quick introduction to the multitude of cleaning products on the market, I got on with the task of removing wallpaper in the bedrooms. With a practical friend at my side, and some limited DIY knowledge, I hired a steamer from Bunning’s and prepared the walls ready for some change.
Photo below of me discovering textured walls once getting rid of the wallpaper:
I then made my first major interior decorating decision. I decided to invest $5,000 in hiring a professional to paint every inch of the inside.Looking back I think this was the best decision. Before the paint job, the house had odd wallpapers, yellow and orange painted walls, and it was very dark inside thanks to all the gumtrees that surround it. I painted every inch white (Dulux Lexicon Half Strength), and by every inch I mean that I got him to paint doors, walls, frames, skirts and ceilings. By the time the painter was finished the property looked fantastic in my eyes. It was so much brighter and neater. Also, for a small property as it was (roughly 10 squares) it now all flowed together.
My next interior decorating decision was to replace all the curtains (after finding black mould on the nasty old-fashionedcurtains). I decided to spend $5,000 on some traditional white block out curtains with pelmets. Having set a budget I could afford for my starter home, I decided to leave the other half of the house with the existing timber blinds. Looking back I wish I had replaced them, however a budget is a budget.
So I had finally fixed the property to make it liveable.
No mice or mould and it was now freshly painted and curtains hung.
Armed with the furnishings budget I decided to go and purchase my big-ticket items.
I purchased all the usual essentials needed; fridge, washing machine and microwave. I got them all on 0% finance to help while I was paying all my other bills and mortgage. Next came the lounge suite. I knew that I needed it to be hardwearing and stain resistant because of the dogs. It also needed to be big enough for curling up with a book, with wide arms to hold my drink. I found one for a great price at Fantastic Furniture. I then searched high and low for my entertainment unit. I wanted great style and great storage. I managed to score that online from eBay. Then I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had enough money left over to purchase the dream dining table. The financial compromise was buying affordable chairs. I got those from Ikea, along with a new set of glasses and tableware.
And then I invited people in to my home. I wasn’t expecting the feedback I got from family and friends on my house. Everyone loved it. Suddenly I was proud of the home that I created.
From then I was hooked!
So much so that I decided to study Interior Design and Decorating.
Unfortunately, during this time, I got sick and I had to put my course on hold. I was barely working enough to make my mortgage payments and I was having some trouble with roommates. Things were not quite working out as expected.
During this time of change I noticed that a girl I went to high school with had started an Instagram profile and at the time she had roughly 7,000 followers. I had a look at her page and fell in love. She regularly posted beautiful photos of her home and her styling and her Instagram community supported her whole-heartedly.
The next day I started up my Instagram. I bought a couple of books on the subject. I documented my current house styling and my future build all while committing as much as I could to my newfound hobby.
My Instagram is born: @50shadesofwhitengrey (The original name)
Some of my posts are here on these pages:
I started it as a hobby while I was sick and struggling but it has now turned into a passion for me. It’s something I invest my whole self into. Something that I get back so much from because I am doing something I love.
Also, during this period my sister decided she was ready to fly the coop and moved in with me when my roommate left. It was great living together and also to have someone support me while I was unwell.
My dad (the ultimate money saver/watcher) suggested that maybe my sister and I get a place together. I think he meant it as a joke and I don’t think he really thought we’d do it. But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a perfect idea. This would help my sister who at 23 was trying to enter the property market for the first time. It would also help take some financial stress off me while I was unwell. I was also going to be in a good position when I sold. I had good equity in my current home and the housing market was on the up.Hence,I was going to be able to secure a nicer house for a smaller mortgage. I decided to sell my house and my sister and I moved back into our parents’ house to save some extra $$$$. The sis and I decided to find some land and build a dream house.
While living back with my parents in our family home they talked about their dilemma. They had been in their home nearly 20 years and were looking for a change now there were no kids at home. I helped them to see that they could make some low-cost changes that would either work to improve their property for sale, or help them to fall in love with their property again. I volunteered my services to help design and decorate their new Reno project. I fell in love even harder with all things decorating and design. We also managed to do the Reno on a really savvy budget which made it all the more special. (Because were a pretty money conscious family and this is something we all value and appreciate).
See pictures below of the before and after:
While my parents Reno had a fantastic outcome, mine and my sister’s new house build was not the easiest. In fact, we ended up going about a hundred grand over our original budget. We were also over our timeline for when we wanted to be in the property (More about the build in another post) however it brings me to now. I absolutely adore my house. I adore sharing it on Instagram and it really inspired me to open up and share my passion for all things design.
Our current home:
I have had such positive comments, feedback and support on Instagram that it leads me to really believe in myself and it gives me confidence to start my own new business (more about in my future blogs).
Bai Interiors & Homewares.
The aim of my business is to offer affordable styling services. I also intend for it to be a place to buy unique homewares, and I want to share my thoughts on everything related to design and decorating through a wicked blog
So anyway, thanks for reading. Your support and interest truly do not go unnoticed.
Feel free to pop me any questions below, I am happy to answer everything and anything truthfully.
Until next time.
Talissa Bailey x