Lovestar designer Helen Bayley shares the inspiration behind her home and designs…

Renovating is both a dream and a nightmare, according to Helen Bayley.

The Lovestar designer and interiors queen now resides in a renovated Norman Park Queenslander which she and husband Chris have turned into a haven of dreamy white walls and sleek polished floorboards, but Bayley said things were not always so sweet.

“We purchased the house, sight unseen, in 2006 and it was just a little workers cottage that needed a lot of work,” she says.

“We widened the hallways, built in the side veranda, built in underneath the house and extended some of the bedrooms. There was a lot of work to be done and it took quite a few years to get it finished.

“We had to nearly start from scratch with the kitchen, all we had to work with was one bench and awful brown walls; now it’s one of my favourite rooms in the house.”

Finding inspiration

Bayley was studying to be a lawyer when her love of interiors, design and beautiful things led her to start Lovestar, a website selling her delectable handcrafted goodies, including a selection of heart-shaped vases.

“This love of design is something I’ve always had in my blood,” she says.

“Growing up my parents were both very creative, my mum had a loom and she was always creating amazing rugs. When it comes to decorating your home you have to look at your family and your life for inspiration, to really make it your own. Your house has to tell your story.”

Decorating and dreams

Bayley has turned her home into a wonderland of colour, much to the delight of her three young daughters, and says it was all about starting with a neutral backdrop to create her dream home.

“I always knew I wanted the walls to be white, so we did the walls in Ports Paint Milk,” she says.

“Then I was able to add in splashes of colour with the furniture and decoration. I’m a big fan of layering so I decorate with stacks of books with vases on top, cushions and rugs, and I have different kinds of art hanging on the walls. Layering takes time but it’s what makes a house a home.

“When it came time to do the bulk of the decoration I was mentally exhausted from the ongoing renovation and 38 weeks pregnant, so I contacted Anna Spiro from Black and Spiro to help me and she was amazing; the window seat with the mixed textures and colours were all her. ”

Renovating do’s and don’ts

Bayley’s advice to anyone brave enough to undergo renovation is to be prepared for everything to cost twice as much as you originally thought.

“We had extensive renovations done, so we used professional builders for the bulk of the work although we did some things ourselves like paint some of the walls,” she says.

“My advice is to have a clear understanding with the team you’re working with before you start so there are no surprise costs.

“It’s also important you don’t try to make your home into something it’s not. You can’t take a classic Queenslander and try and make it into a modern home; you need to be true to the style.”

Visit Helen Bayley’s website