Style on a Budget at 6 Koorong Ave, Rosebud

The KWD team recently completed an exceptionally rewarding project. The owner was renovating and redecorating a property for sale, and having worked with him on a number of projects over the years he knew that we relished the opportunity to achieve a fabulous design on a budget.

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Our client came to us for a solution for a very cost sensitive property in Rosebud. We had just completed a high end project for him in Flinders so it was an exciting challenge to work with a very different brief and budget. The aim was to make the property look fresh, clean, new and relevant whilst being conscious of the locale and responding to the brief in a way that would achieve the best possible price. He wanted to bring a level of  class to the project within the cost sensitive brief. Our clients know that we understand what trends are happening, what’s selling and what’s working at the top end of the market, and that we can make the look happen on a budget. People want something beautiful, and at KWD, we make the beautiful affordable.

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At KWD we work with many cost sensitive developments – so it’s important that our clients don’t feel they can’t afford our services. It’s simply not the case. We are well renowned and well respected for getting a beautiful, on trend look on a tight budget.

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It’s so rewarding for us to be able to create a great design for a price that suits the client and the market. We choose materials that will look good and perform well, and we offer more cost sensitive alternatives to those that we would use in very high spec properties. Quite often the only real compromise is natural versus synthetic, or the country of origin of the materials, never the aesthetic.

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Many of the clients we work with contact us with a renovation budget and the price they want to sell the property for, and that’s what we aim to achieve. We are very strong on getting a clear brief from our clients. We ask very hard and fast questions so that we get to the core of the desired end result. The stronger and clearer the brief, the better the result, and we ask the right questions so that we get clear answers. We don’t rely on our clients to come to us with exactly what they want, we extract the information from them by knowing what needs to be done.

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When we meet with a client for a cost sensitive presentation brief, we sit down together in a consultation and we show them what we would do if there was no budget – oak flooring, marble, 100% wool loop pile carpet, natural stone benches, timber veneer joinery, marble mosaics – and then we present what we can do for their budget.  The two snapshots will look very similar. When you complete a low spec property versus a high spec, colour is not compromised because we can supply a beautiful grey Italian limestone or a replica Chinese glazed porcelain for a very low price. They are completely different products as you are talking a tile versus stone, but the aesthetic remains the same. What comes down is the price of the finishes. Where our high end residential projects showcase what’s on trend and what’s selling in the marketplace at the top end – we can reproduce the look at a very cost sensitive price without compromising the aesthetic.

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For this project, we completed extensive research and discovered that property prices in Rosebud are going up. The area is gentrifying and growing in its appeal to a wider audience so we wanted to ensure there was a certain level of design. Generically, we discovered that the Rosebud clientele is very happy with vinyl plank flooring – it’s functional, it has a great look and it suits the market. It looks incredible. For a property of this calibre, KWD would suggest laminate timber flooring as opposed to oak timber flooring, glazed porcelain instead of stone and solution dyed nylon carpets instead of 100% handmade pure wool loop pile carpets.

For the cabinetry in a cost sensitive development, laminate timber look joinery would be specified in lieu of timber veneer joinery and for the kitchen, KWD would suggest Caesar stone marble look bench tops instead of real marble Calacutta bench tops and Chinese subway tiles instead of Spanish handmade subway tiles.

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Keeping appliance costs down in budget sensitive developments is also important, therefore using high quality stainless steel appliances from Technika instead of Miele or Gaggenau would be a sensible decision. And while it isn’t appropriate to use tapware from Perrin & Rowe, perfectly suitable products can be sourced from Fowles Auctions. KWD can design a high end look using budget conscious materials. The only element that doesn’t vary between high end specifications and budget conscious projects is paint!

KWD also incorporate special features where appropriate to make an impact, like using a Penny Round mosaic tile in the bathrooms, but only in between the vanity and the mirror so that people feel they are getting a special design touch. We can create an illusion of a high spec design by using predominantly cost effective materials highlighted with a special design feature used in a minimal way to keep the costs down.

For KWD it’s all about increasing the gap between the cost and the sell price for the client, which means profit. If the client makes good money, they’re going to do it again and they’re going to use KWD and they’re going to refer us on to other clients. Working to a budget and creating the best possible design that meets that budget is one of our favourite challenges to tackle. Choices are limited and we become real solution experts.  Our goal is for our clients to achieve their goal. They take on a project that they want to sell, and they want to sell the property quickly and for the best possible price, and that comes down to aesthetic.  And of course they want to sell it at a profit. Our premise at KWD is that for every dollar you put in you’ll get two dollars back. You have to make smart decisions and not over invest in materials that a market simply doesn’t want or value.

If you’d like to have a chat with the KWD team about your own commercial or residential building or design project, please call KWD on (03) 5974 1800.

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KWD has grown from a team of two in 2013 to a dynamic group of ten professionals who all contribute to the successful consultancy we have created. Growing up in a family with a mother as an Interior Designer and a father as a successful Ceramic Tile Merchant, it's no wonder I entered the world of design. At Kate Walker Design (KWD), our primary focus is to specify, source and supply stone, tiles and all other hard finishes into projects across Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula, but also interstate and internationally. We embrace a consultative approach and develop lasting relationships with each and every client. It’s what the KWD team knows and loves. “Design is not a thing we do. It’s our way of life.” Kate Walker

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