Our Giving Project By: Bernadette Janson

The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Our Giving Project

I think that by being born in Australia to decent parents, we won the jackpot. There is so much poverty and sadness in the world that I feel we have a duty to share our good fortune.

We have always made a donation from our projects to a cause that cares for people who were not given a good start. This year we took it up a notch as we were planning to do a 500 km charity ride in Thailand and taking a team of 10 – family and students – with us.

Each rider was required to raise $5000 to be able to ride.

We always say:

  • Got a wedding in the family?  Do a reno.
  • Want to go on a big holiday?  Do a reno.

So now we needed to find $50,000, it was time to put our money where our mouth is and  DO A RENO!

The profit from this project enabled us to donate a profit of  $120,000 to  The Hands Group who provide homes, education, and love to children who have had a traumatic start to life. One of the reasons we love this charity is that 100% of the money we give goes directly to the care of the children (0 admin costs)

The Project:

Studio Apartment with Balcony and Car park in Surry Hills, Sydney.

The apartment was tiny and right on Elizabeth Street but we got it at the right price. Normally, we would anticipate about $50,000 profit (10% purchase price).

As always, there were a few little challenges. Getting Strata approval took time.

Taking a studio to a one-bedder required a Complying Development Certificate (CDC), and we needed strata approval before we could apply for the CDC. So while waiting for approval, the property was listed on Airbnb. And it was returning $1000/week most weeks – which was great!


Create a bedroom

  • Build a wall to create a separate bedroom and section off with a wall to ceiling sliding door.


  • Strip out the existing kitchen and relocate.
  • Build a new flat pack kitchen in the new location.
  • Install all new appliances.

Heating & Cooling

  • Create a study nook with built-in desk.


  • Replace the bathroom door with a barn style door.
  • Fully renovated the bathroom keeping everything in the same location.

General Cosmetic Improvements

  • Installed laminate floating floor throughout.
  • Patch and paint walls, ceiling and timberwork in a lovely contemporary colour scheme.
  • Installed new curtains throughout.
  • Installed a gallery picture hanging system
  • Install new cabinetry in the bedroom and study nook.


  • Installed new light fittings.
  • Put-up new light switches and power points throughout.
  • Installed data wiring.
  • Installed a wall-hung television.

The Figures

Purchase Price Buying Cost* Holding Reduced** Renovation Cost Selling Cost*** TOTAL SOLD  PROFIT
$475,000 $17,466 $19,756 $34,264 $4,000 $550488 $670,000 $118,512

(We rounded-up the profit to $120,000 when transferring it to the Hands Group.)


Loan Bernadette & Stephen
$380,000 $261,098
*     Stamp duty, etc.
**   Interest rates, utility, etc. – Holding costs reduced by short-term letting while waiting for approval
*** Marketing only, Belle Property Surry Hills donated their commission

She Renovates Free Facebook Group

If you want to meet up with a group of savvy renovators. I would say come over and join She Renovates Facebook Group. It’s a completely FREE Facebook group and it is growing at the rate of knots. We hit over a thousand members just recently, and now it seems to have picked up momentum. They are all savvy renovating women and men working their little hearts out to live a better life through renovating.

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Bernadette Janson

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