18-20 October 2024
International Convention Centre Sydney

11 Hot Tips From House Rulers Pete & Courtney

Professional dancers Pete & Courtney just walked away with $250,000 after a nearly perfect score on House Rules.

“We started off as just two people from Melbourne who applied for a TV show. One sitting on their couch doing the application and the other saying ‘let’s do it tomorrow because we’re having dinner!’”

Renovating 11 properties during season seven, Pete & Courtney shared winning tips with the Home Show audience.

Finding your Vision ? ? ?

Much like Block contestants Jesse and Mel, Pete and Courtney are big advocates for mood boards. Like a real-life Pinterest Pinboard, a mood board is a collection of images to illustrate your dream home. Wall finishing, flooring, paint colours; it can contain anything that inspires you. Pete unpacked this method, “we’ve taken photos of samples and printed them out, so it’s tangible and real.”

A project will see changes from start to finish, but one thing will always remain the same – your mood board. It’s a visual guide you can refer back to for inspiration, even on a hard day’s innings.

We live in an age of information overload, and it can be difficult refining thousands of ideas into one. “We call it the Pinterest rabbit hole; you can never get back out!” Exclaimed Matthew, who claims it can settle arguments until Courtney interrupted, “it can also create new arguments!”

Two ways to start your mood board ?

  1. Specific style or design – you know exactly what you want, run with it!
  2. Magazines, Pinterest, Instagram – collect images and find the running theme

Courtney asserted, “Research is the most important and beneficial step you have to take; otherwise you will be floating.” And Matthew returned the serve, “commit to something, or you will commit to nothing!”

Keywords work to anchor the images, organising the mess into a fully-fledged character profile.

Pete & Courtney’s example

Living Kitchen Bedroom Bathroom
family exposed brick Soft concrete
comfort black cabinetry plush stone
gathering timber luxe timber
accents of white industrial glam raw finishes
concrete bold opulence stunning soft finishes
neon some greenery

But all this social inspiration needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Pinterest and Instagram dictate that we must own beautiful, pristine homes that are untouched and un-lived. “The reality is nobody lives with a teacup on the end of their bed,” declared Matthew.

At this point, it’s a good idea to have an honest conversation with yourself. “Turn the device off, close the magazine and ask: Is that me? Is that what I want? Do I want to live with that? Is that going to feel like home when we’re finished? You can create a beautiful home, but if it’s not going to be your style and vision, you’re going to feel like you’re living in someone else’s home” Courtney confessed. Inspiration only goes so far, but ultimately, it’s down to you to decide.

Measuring up ?

With inspiration in hand (literally), now it’s time to begin planning. It’s crucial you get this step right, as the next step will be cash commitment.

Look to certain aspects of your friend’s homes and ask if they like it. For example, you might admire their butlers’ pantry, but they might find it impractical with kids. Let them be the guinea pigs of your new home.

Butchers paper; it’s cheap, it’s large and therefore perfect for testing floor plans. Lay it out in your garage floor and plot out your room. On this scale, it will be easy to spot mistakes. All it takes is one oversight in the planning stage to blow a budget. All your appliances, fittings and furniture should be laid out like pieces on a chessboard. Move these pieces until you check-mate on your room design.

Kitchens ?‍?

Courtney implores us never to underestimate the importance of our kitchen (cue inspiring music), “The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where you cook everyone’s meal. It’s where you have ‘deep and meaningful’ (D&Ms) conversations after a rough day. It’s where you might have a glass of wine with your girlfriend. And it’s where you dance to the wiggles!”

Even if you’re not a great cook, like Josh Catalano, kitchens play a vital role, especially for families.

Wendy Moore, a judge since House Rule’s inception, departed some valuable kitchen wisdom. ‘When you’re designing a kitchen, make sure you can cook spaghetti easily.’ An odd statement out of the gate, yet the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. Spaghetti requires every facet of the kitchen: fridge, pantry, cooktop and oven. You never want to take too many steps, “make sure they are in a wonderful triangle for function” concluded Courtney.

The B Word ?

“We’ve blown budgets on things; we’ve come under budget on things. But in the end, we’re questioning whether we allocated budget properly…” Courtney reflected. It’s the puzzle of the chicken and the egg. Are you over budget because you spent too much, or because you didn’t allocate enough?

Our winning couple recommends DIY where possible. You’ll save money and create a sense of ownership.

Some dos and don’ts include:

   ❌   Don’t do your own plumbing

   ✅   Try tiling (start small)

   ✅   Do painting

   ✅   Do flat packs (Ikea wardrobes)

   ❌   Don’t do plastering (‘it’s so tough!’)

Remember, not everything has to be done at once! Pete says ‘There’s nothing wrong with saving and reno, saving and reno, saving and reno.’

7 Quick-fire Hot Tips ?

  1. ‘If at first, you don’t succeed, pick yourself up and try again.’ Try DIY, if that fails call in a tradie.
  2. ‘Check twice, cut once’ Before ordering anything, check and recheck your measurements. ‘You’ll feel much better for it.’
  3. Don’t ignore ‘the nitty-gritty’ – insurances, councils, warranties.
  4. Park cars on the street. This will allow supply deliveries to arrive in the driveway and stored in the garage quickly.
  5. Floor plans > demo > purchase – always do the theoretical before practical.
  6. Your initial idea will never reflect the end product.
  7. Get paint samples and physically test colours on the wall.


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