reno inspiration

Full disclosure – unfortunately these pictures aren’t of my new house, girls gotta dream right! But hopefully after ALOT of work, we can get our home close.

When I first saw our beachside house, all my straight faced, hard ass unemotional attitude, making the agent think I’m beyond disinterested plan went out the window. My first words as I walked inside “This is my dream home!! I’m definitely putting in an offer!!”. Nice move. In my defence, it WAS my dream home (well it could be with a few major changes), surprisingly a Scandinavian style house was hidden amongst sub-division after sub-division of brick and tile suburbia. It had me at white wooden roof beams.

Exterior from street
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We have played gypsies a little over the past several years. Leaving our home in Christchurch before the quakes for the big smoke of Auckland. Finding that a little too big for our family we next set off for the idyllic spot of Wainui Beach in Gizzy (my surf loving husbands home town). That was a little too small. Now we’ve settled in Papamoa, a ten minute drive along the beach from Mount Maunganui – and it’s juuuuust right. It’s becoming pretty rare to find a full size section here and this was a wee gem of a spot, just one block from the beach. The house is very small – about 110 square metres, that we’d have to extend, but has a 60 square metre granny flat on the property that I’d love to use as a studio / office (I currently have nothing to do in a studio / office, but it sounds kinda cool right!).

We waited just over a year before starting on renovating, and despite countless episodes of Grand Designs proving otherwise, I was sure my excellent budgeting combined with my mad xcel spreadsheet skills would keep us on track. Kevin McCloud could raise his eyebrows at our small budget all he wanted, we would be the exception to the rule.

This of course didn’t happen. Although all the building work is complete, because of small delays and unexpected costs, my budget to complete the interior design quickly evaporated. So here I am left with dreams of creating something worthy of the pages of Inside Out magazine, with no designer budget. I’m not complaining though, it will help me practice patience and creativity. As my mother says “First world problems!”.


For many in their twenties it’s a gloriously selfish time when they can justify spending three weeks rent on the latest must have, unfortunately as we grow older and lifestyle changes, it’s much harder to rationalize. Mortgages, children and husbands (especially those with an aversion towards late model cars and big screen TV’s) all chew up that dollar once dedicated to an enviable wardrobe.

Back in my twenties I was lucky enough to work in fashion, regularly enjoying fashion shows, industry events and photo shoots. My wardrobe was bursting with amazing pieces, dangerously easy to justify when you buy at wholesale!

Fast forward to today and my life now consists of looking after my two daughters, being a wifey, coffees with girlfriends, staying up late doing uni assignments and of course the usual fun that comes with being a mum aka endless washing, cooking, cleaning etc. Somewhere I seem to have lost my style, it may be somewhere between a mountain of Dora DVDs and 3am wake up calls for yet another cuddle. I still live vicariously through my girlfriends who are yet to have children or a large mortgage and seem to be wearing some new designer lust worthy purchase in every uploaded photo on instagram or facebook – but back to my reality – dressing for my new lifestyle on a relatively modest budget. I want a relaxed, cool look with an edge.

style inspiration tj

Pinterest is a fantastic tool to discover your style and highlight what important items are missing from your current wardrobe. I must warn you however, you may find that while surfing pinterest multiple hours suddenly disappear from your day, it’s addictive! A couple of favourite bloggers I’ve repined a little excessively from are Julie Sarinana of Sincerely Jules and best friends Tash Sefton and Elle Ferguson of the renowned They All Hate Us. Both give a perfect example of casual luxe. An outfit that you can wear with converse for the day, then simply change into heels and red lippy and you’re ready for a night out. Or perhaps there’s a celeb whose style you admire, simply enter their name in the Pinterest search tool and you will have pages of images to inspire. Kate Bosworth, Lara Bingle and my absolute favourite Paris Vogue’s editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt are definitely worth stalking.

Considering my budget I’ve got to keep realistic (so hard to do!), there is so many different styles I adore, but to get the most out of your wardrobe you must put together a cohesive collection of clothing that you can mix and match multiple ways.

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1. Rails shirt
2. Bassike tee
3. Converse Chuck Taylor all star daintys
4. Paige Denim slim boyfriend jeans
5. Kirstin Ash ‘Fines’ rings
6. Lindi Kingi bracelets
7. Paige Denim skinny black jeans
8. Twenty Seven Names breton tee
9. Chaos and Harmony ‘Vow’ boots

Keeping to a pallet of denim, leather, white, grey and black, I can mix and match to create numerous looks and make the most of my new purchases. The key is stretching your dollar as far as possible by keeping your wardrobe to a small number of key pieces, investing in the best quality you can afford and keeping your eye out on sales and Trademe for a designer piece at a chain store price tag.


After more than a decade of working, mainly in fashion sales and marketing, I have left the 9-5 behind and am now mama of two. I’m still crazy about design – from fashion to interiors and trying to stay stylish amongst the mayhem of endless laundry while renovating our beachside home on a non-designer budget. This blog is a way to keep my creative side alive and hopefully give others like me a little escape from the daily grind.

Who are these two janes you ask?

who are these two janes

Well, there is a constant battle in my head between the two sides of me; one is a money is no object, head to toe label loving, New York loft living, fashion PR force to be reckoned with; the other is a super busy super mama, budget conscious, sneaker wearing, hair in a two second top knot, cleaning sticky toddler fingers off my t-shirt, driving the same Honda for the last decade kind a girl. Despite only one of us actually living in the real world, the two janes often debate – especially when it comes to my two loves; fashion and interior design.

Follow my attempts to balance the designer loving freak in my head, with the reality of a not so fancy bank balance. Mostly sensible Jane wins, but other times label lusting Jane is unstoppable and I find myself leaving a store with two pairs of ‘so amazing they will change my life’ shoes, a serious dent in my wallet and an unimpressed husband as I was meant to spend that money on a water blaster. Oops.