We know that birds of a feather flock together so it made perfect sense that Reno School students Kate Potter and Suzette Halliwell hit it off when they bumped into each other at a renovation event in Sydney. Having recognised one another from previous similar events, they got chatting #asyoudo.

Realising they live close to each other on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Suzette offered Kate a ride home, talking all the way home about their reno goals. By the time they got to Kate’s house, Suzette had suggested they team up and flip a house together. Kate jumped at the chance. They started planning that day and haven’t looked back!

meet kate & Suzette

If the name Kate Potter rings a bell, it’s probably from her previous renovation, the .

Kate has a background in project management and teaming up with Suzette, an experienced bookkeeper, made for a dream team when it came to the planning and execution of their project.

They combined their skills, finances and time to create a joint venture which meant working in their day jobs was still achievable while managing their new project from start to finish.

Picking the perfect property

Despite living close to each other in Sydney, the girls chose to purchase a property two hours away in Newcastle, due to the affordability in comparison to their local area. They engaged a local buyer’s agent who had helped previous clients to purchase similar character cottages to renovate. She helped them find ‘Mayfield’.

The JOINT vision

A joint venture called for a joint vision and, like any seasoned Reno Schooler, Kate and Suzette started out by creating a vision board for their project. In their case, working together for the first time, agreeing on the design vision upfront was particularly important. They agreed to use their vision board to guide all the critical decisions along the way… and they did.

Much of Kate and Suzette’s inspiration for ‘Mayfield’ was derived from the art deco character of the cottage #artdecobeauty but they wanted to keep it fresh light and comfortable as well.

“It was also great to have a detailed vision in the form of detailed plans with images to share the vision with our tradies. We even had plans and images pinned up around the house for them to refer to.”

— Kate Potter

the quick flip details

The objective of the project was primarily a quick flip for profit but the girls concentrated on balancing the budget to add value, flow and beauty without skimping on key issues such as rewiring, fixing the roof and replacing gutters and downpipes - all those non-sexy budget-burning things that some flippers may overlook. It was important for them to present a quality home to the market that they could be proud of.

The plans for the renovation kept within the footprint of the original house but the layout was reconfigured to add a main bedroom, ensuite, open plan living with a new kitchen and separate laundry. An ugly undercover indoor/outdoor back area was also converted into a second living area.

In addition to re-wiring and re-plumbing the cottage, it received a complete repaint inside and out, plastering where required, new doors throughout, two new bathrooms, a new laundry and kitchen and the addition of built-in wardrobes to each bedroom.

The girls are on track for a joint venture renovation speed record - Kate and Suzette met in December, worked out the details of their JV in January and started work in February. The reno itself was completed in 12 weeks.

THE Challenges & rewards of a joint reno

We know perfectly well from our own experience that no joint project is without a healthy number of challenges… and an equal dose of rewards. We asked the girls what their challenges and achievements were:

YOUR biggest challenges or experiences?

Getting to know each other and identify roles and strengths

Finding a trade team in a new area we have never worked in before

Working remotely - made even more difficult when we were put into COVID lockdown!

YOUR Biggest achievement?

Definitely achieving the vision we dreamed of and hearing praise from our tradies. They don’t usually talk so much about finishes and colours, vanities and door handles... and even styling !

any disagreements?

The shed at the back of the property was probably the biggest bone of contention. Suzette wanted to keep and Kate wanted to rip it down. We decided that it was good to have some sort of structure there so we left it there and just smothered it with white paint.

Suzette wasn’t 100% sure about opening the back of the house with French doors to the deck so I demonstrated through the vision and the renders to work through.

We agreed from the start that if we weren’t aligned on a decision we’d seek opinions from people with local knowledge, like our property buyer and agent - they were a fantastic help with that.

YOUR favourite part?

Our favourite part was definitely walking through the house after it was cleaned and styled, having not being able to spend time there during the lockdown. We used Property Styling Corp (the same company Kate used to style Maisie) to help us with the styling for this project. This removed the challenge of sourcing furniture and styling items from afar and we knew they’d do a great job.


Inspo all the way!!! And the importance of creating and remaining true to the vision are things that helped me (Kate) through the Maisie reno and was just as important this time.

open for inspection

Mayfield is now finished and on the market. If you’re in the market for an #artdecobeauty, you’ll find all the details .

A sight any vendor would be thrilled to see on Open Day!

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