We speak with Kara Demmrich about her interiors journey, her biggest learnings and where she finds inspiration.
We have loved following your home, renovation and interiors journey. Where did it all begin and how did you come to where you are now?
I was in my first year of University studying Physiotherapy, and I used to trawl the second hand furniture stores of Newcastle looking for cool furniture I could upcycle. Primarily this started on a needs basis – I needed a desk, bookshelf, coffee table etc, but I soon fell in love with the process of giving old pieces new life. Kyal was completing a carpentry apprenticeship at the time, and we’d often reuse second hand building materials to make new pieces such as an oversize mirror with a rustic timber frame.
We realised early on that we’d love to continue on this journey and started saving for our first home to renovate. We bought our first home on the Central Coast of NSW when I was 20 and began renovating and extending straightaway. We’d finished renovating our first home in 2013 and were ready for the next challenge when we saw Block auditions were open. After successfully completing the audition process, we spent 12 weeks renovating an amazing old cinema in Melbourne, converting it to a loft style apartment and loved every minute of it. From there, Kyal obtained his builders license and I studied design at ISCD. We started a construction company and have been renovating and building for the past 10 years.
In 2015 we began filming our renovations and creating online series via our website (kyalandkara.com), YouTube and social media channels as a means to share the process and details along the way. We’re just about to embark on our fourth online series and we’ve loved how this has evolved for us into full time work. Social media has played such a big role in this and we’re incredibly grateful for everyone who follows along.
What has been the biggest learning throughout your interior journey?
Trends come and go, but creating a home that is unique to you will stand the test of time. We’re in a digital age where we are saturated by inspiration via social media, Pinterest and online content. It can be easy to fall into the trap of trying to emulate something you’ve seen before but I encourage people to slowly curate objects that have meaning or memories or pieces that bring joy, as opposed to buying something purely to fill a shelf.
Where do you seek the inspiration behind each renovation?
We always take inspiration from the home itself and its surrounding area first; looking for cues that create a starting point for us to build upon, and from there we look anywhere and everywhere! For example, we were inspired by the huge date palm at the front of the property for our Long Jetty Project and the 1970’s breezeblocks that adorned the existing old fibro beach shack. We used those as our cues and then looked for inspiration online, read design books, referenced the colours at our local beach, travels – literally anything can spark an idea.
What are your top tips for buyers purchasing their first renovation project?
Firstly, establish what your property goals are. This will guide your renovation budget and decisions regarding finishes and fixtures along the way (ie. is this your forever home, a quick flip, a five year plan? etc).
Don’t be afraid to jump in and get your hands dirty. You might be surprised at what skills you can learn and money you can save along the way. Demolition, painting, tiling a splashback, landscaping – all the more satisfying when you’ve put in some labour.
And finally on the flip side, know your limitations and get the professionals in for things that need to be done correctly such as electrical, plumbing and tiling that require falls to ensure proper drainage.
I think that each new project we do becomes our favourite for a time, as each new renovation brings with it lessons learned from past houses. We built our “Blue Lagoon Build” to live in as a family for at least the next 5-10 years so we were very particular about how we designed the home in terms of how we want to live – so that’s our current favourite.
What are your top tips for a well-styled home?
Make sure there is a nice mixture of texture and colour, whether it be a bright or muted scheme. This can be introduced via hard fixtures and finishes or soft furnishing like rugs, cushions and throws.
I also like to walk into my own home and look with “fresh eyes” every now and again. It usually means I’m re-arranging shelves and decluttering. You can give your home a fresh new look without spending a cent.
Following on from this, what are your top three items in your home that everyone should own:
Things that bring joy! For me that includes:
Ceramics. My love of ceramics is real and I’m always on the hunt. They add so much to a shelf, kitchen bench, side table or bookshelf
A comfy sofa or armchair to relax in
Indoor plants - they bring so much life to an interior
Where can we find your MARLOE MARLOE forms?
Sitting beautifully on the kitchen bench with dried foliage, or on the bench in front of our lounge room sandstone feature wall.