For identical twins Marissa Sohtra and Rebecca Loucas, 28, doing things together has been the norm since birth.
Both were interested in fashion and style from an early age, starting their blog Twice Blessed seven years ago.
“I think being twins, automatically from a very young age we were always dressed very similar, and our parents are both very fashionable as well,” Marissa told news.com.au.
So it was a no-brainer to move in next door to each other when two homes became available at the same time in 2018.
Marissa and Rebecca bought the Melbourne houses with their now-husbands and have been slowing renovating — while making sure they co-ordinate, of course.
“We were both looking at potentially buying properties but just because of the current landscape in Australia it probably wasn’t feasible for us to buy standalone properties each,” Marissa said.
“This property literally just popped up – it was such a blessing, and it was perfect.”
With traditional 1970s yellow brick, both homes were crying out for a makeover. Lockdown measures introduced by the government in March provided the perfect stretch of time to renovate the exterior.
Using a paint sprayer, the duo decided to paint their houses black – well, Black Caviar by Dulux specifically.
While black isn’t a very common choice for houses, both said it was an easy decision to make as the shade added “drama” and was a “central colour to our theming”.
“I just loved it because it was a beautiful warm black,” Rebecca said.
Partnering with Bunnings, the bloggers transformed the “drab” exteriors of their homes in just five days – with the drastic makeover costing just $2000 for five cans of pain and three spray guns.
“Marissa and I actually painted the whole facade ourselves, the boys didn’t help in painting the brick so we’re really proud of ourselves,” Rebecca said.
Painting your house black might not be the most traditional choice but the sisters said the reaction had been overwhelmingly positive.
“Our neighbours had their maintenance man over and he was like peeking over the fence going, ‘are you guys spraying it black?'” Rebecca said.
“And we were like ‘yeah,’ and he was like, ‘that looks incredible,’ I’ve never seen it before’. It looks so beautiful and cool.”
Marissa, also continued the theme inside her home, painting a feature wall and bedroom wardrobe a similar bold shade.
The makeover cost just $200 for Porter’s Paint Aniseed black and statement gold wardrobe handles, with the job taking a day.
As Instagram bloggers the pair plain to put the feature wall to good use until lockdown measures are fully eased.
“I wanted to do something to just zhuzh up the place and because with the restrictions in place Bec and I weren’t able to go shoot our usual content on the street,” Marissa said.
“So we really wanted to have an indoor space that was functional.”
TOP TIPS FOR RENOVATING A HOME
Plan, plan, plan
Renovating an entire home can seem daunting at first but one way to make it easier is to plan everything before you pick up a tool.
“The best thing to do is plan, before I did my renovation I signed up to an online reno school which is hosted by some actual designers called Three Bird Renovations,” Rebecca said.
“I paid for the course myself it was a six week course and it went through every stage of a renovation … that was such an amazing reference to have when I was unsure about things.”
The twins also developed mood boards of how they wanted the renovation to look, using sites like Pinterest for inspiration.
“It made sure that every decision we had went back to the overall feel and mood of the space,” Rebecca said.
“So any questions on what hardware we should choose (for example), OK, look at the mood board, let’s go with gold.”
‘Take your time’
Why it can be tempting to rush to get everything looking pretty straight away it was important to stay within your price range.
“Breaking things down into certain projects to make it bite-sized, especially for us if you are a young professional you don’t have endless wads of cash sitting in your bank account,” Marissa said.
“I think the best thing to do would be bits and pieces … do little projects in bite-sized chunks. it will make your money stretch more across and also it will make it more manageable as well.”
She also stressed it was important to “take your time” when it came to renovating as it ensured things were done properly.
“I know our generation is very eager to have everything done here and now especially because we’re all social and on Instagram so we want to promote everything now,” Marissa said.
“But there’s no harm in taking things slowly and planning them out properly, taking your time to do things because you save money in the long run and it’s more gratifying.”
Originally published as $2k Bunnings solution to ‘drab’ house