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personalized baby gifts Seasoned renovators share their top tips, and their latest transformation sofa pillow covers

Saving a crumbling Palmerston North villa was a labour of love for this pair of professional renovators who had a clear vision for their heritage home. See their renovating and budget tips below

Blair and Rebecca McDonald, 38 and 35 (co-owners of Blair McDonald Building), Ryder, 8, Indy, 5, and Tilly,?3, plus cat Mimi and Flemish giant rabbits Poppy and Daisy.

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If you canpersonalized baby gifts, live in the unrenovated space for a while and get a feel for it. Often, what you think a space might need can change dramatically once you’ve lived in it.

Renovations can take over your life. Give yourself permission to have time off or, even better, time away.

Spend some money where you can see and appreciate it. A few fancy extras can make a huge difference, and add a ton of value, eg a fancy sink mixer in an otherwise standard-spec kitchen can lift the whole space. So go ahead and buy that designer pendant!

Don’t underestimate the finishing touch of landscaping (and employing a great landscape designer). It’s the icing on the renovation cake.

Have fun. You might think you can’t wait for it all to be over and that you’ll never, ever put yourself through that again. But renos are a bit like babies. You miss them when they’re gone and, before you know it, you’re pining to do it all over again!

Becs:?Being in the trade and also having done a great deal of the work ourselves and in our own time, it is really hard to give a realistic reno cost and, if I am perfectly honest, I stopped keeping track a long time ago. I do know that we spent about $180,000 on materials alone. Obviously that’s not including all those hours we worked, or the blood, sweat and tears involved.

One thing I can tell you with certainty is that the old saying about ‘a villa renovation taking twice as long and costing twice as much as you think’ is true, even though we have years of experience under our belts!

The 90/10 rule?If you love lots of white, a ratio of 90 percent white to 10 percent colour will prevent your space from looking too fridge-like.

Cool it downSoothe the vibrant red tones in native timber floors with a cool white on the walls. Go for a grey- or green-based shade of white.

Warm it upDoes your room face south or absorb lots of reflected green light from the garden? Whites with a yellow base will stop it feeling chilly.

See more of the New Plymouth renovation below





Bedrooms Becs says the guest room can handle dark walls because of its high ceiling.


Bedrooms?For the master suite, built into the roof space, Becs stuck to her usual white.









Living and dining Teaming white walls with natural dark timber floors has created a serene and effortless modern aesthetic that also remains true to the classic villa look.


Outdoors Once a dilapidated rental, this home has been given a new lease of life with an added garage, restored cottage garden and the introduction of that prized modern amenity indoor-outdoor flow.








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Shop their style

1.?Framed ‘All Is Pretty’ art print by Andy Warhol, $349, from Pop Motif. 2. Pelham cage pendant, $169, from Early Settler. 3 Stevie bar stool, $219.01, from Cintesi. 4. Haven Home Metro coffee table, $149, from Farmers. 5. Jonsson wall clock, $175, from Father Rabbit.

View next gallery: These before and afters prove a lick of white paint can go a long way View Gallery

Landscaping Kathy Bills, kathybills.co.nz.

Architect Bruce Barry, brucebarryarchitects.co.nz

Words by: Tina Stephen.?Photography by: The Virtue.

2 years doesn’t get as much press as 1 year, and yet it is just as important as any other marriage milestone. Representing strength and adaptability, cotton is the traditional theme for a 2nd anniversary gift, but as you can see from this selection of gorgeous ideas, that doesn’t mean you’re restricted to dishcloths and bedsheets if you want to stick to convention.

Just upload the photo you want used and the seller will crop it perfectly for you! The stickers are waterproof and microwave and dishwasher safe, so you can get really creative with where you put them! Check out BuzzFeed's full write-up on these stickers.

From the Mona Lisa to the Girl With the Pearl Earring, the most famous women in visual art haven’t typically been women artists but the subjects, almost inevitably, of male artists. Women may have provided the inspiration, but men made the art—and by doing so, took ownership of female beauty and representation for centuries. Of course there are exceptions, from medieval polymath Hildegard of Bingin to Qing dynasty painter Chen Shu; works like the Baroque masterpiece Judith Slaying Holofernes by Artemisia Gentileschi present a fascinating, women-centric visual world. But a trip through any major art museum will confirm the dominance of the male gaze. It’s been refining the female form for centuries, and it’s not giving up without a fight.

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