Styling a home for sale

Taking the time to present your home in the best possible way to potential buyers is always worth the investment: in time and money. … “ extract from an article in Focus Magazine Port Macquarie.

“Without question, a well presented home helps your real estate agent ask for a higher price and means a quicker sale in comparison to poorly presented properties”, said Michelle Burton of Designing Divas when Focus Magazine, Port Macquarie interviewed her  to discuss the Property Styling service available to home owners  and real estate agents in Port Macquarie.

designing divas focus 0ct 15Designing Divas is a design firm offering interior design, property styling and landscape design.

What’s involved in Home Styling?

“We look at the property through the eyes of a potential buyer and show the property in the best possible light. Too often sellers still regard the place for sale as their home and what works for them isn’t necessarily what a buyer is looking for. Decluttering is usually high on the list of necessary styling tasks along with recommendations for the repair or replacement of easily fixed items like old light fittings or worn carpet. Furniture re-arranging, hire of new furniture, additional co-ordinated homewares, artwork and accessories for photography and open days quickly transforms a property. A fresh coat of paint and professional can also do wonders.”

What’s the timeline for Home Styling?

“2-3 weeks is a comfortable timeline to allow for inspection, the furniture hire and preparing a property for sale to be ready to be photographed for advertising purposes or for open days. However, ideally, you should have the initial styling consultation wth Michelle as soon as you decide to sell as the recommendations might include a fresh coat of paint, replacing old flooring or window treatments which may require additional time to organise. This will also give the homeowners the opportunity to do a lot of the work themselves and therefore save money.” For smaller homes and apartments, we offer a “Compact Living” package which may be all you need.

Any other tips for getting a property ready for sale?

“Giving the property ‘street appeal’ and presenting a well maintained back yard and garden are always appreciated. That’s when our landscape designer gets involved. If required, we can also provide concept plans to show prospective buyers what could be done with an internal layout change, or an addition or alteration to the property for sale. “

Is property styling worth the investment?

“Yes. Often, when owners see what a difference property styling (sometimes referred to as property staging) makes to the look and feel of their place they say “It looks so good we’ll be sad to leave.”  Then, when they discover the sale price their real estate has negotiated on their behalf they agree that Property Styling was one of the best financial decisions they have ever made.”

To find out more call Michelle Burton on 0413 398 908

Bathroom Design of 2015 – Winner HIA Northern NSW


HIA AWARDS – Northern NSW – WINNER 2015

Michelle Burton, principal interior designer of Designing Divas is the winner of Bathroom Design of the Year at the 2015 HIA NORTHERN NSW HOUSING AND KITCHEN BATHROOM AWARDS held in Coffs Harbour (11th September). This is the second time in three years Michelle has won the Housing Industry Association’s Bathroom Design of the Year Award. Her winning entry will be judged at the NSW Finals Awards later in the year.  Entries for this award come from all over the Mid north coast and Northern NSW. Michelle’s interior design company, Designing Divas is based in Port Macquarie and at the event she thanked her associates involved in the stunning bathroom in a new home built on the Hastings River on the North Shore of Port Macquarie.

Built by Brandon Calder Homes;  building design by Derek & James Collins of CollinsWCollins; Reece in Port Macquarie supplied all the fixtures and fittings and a special mention to ColorTile in Port Macquarie and the fantastic work of tiler Darren Roach.

Bathroom Design of the Year 2015 - HIA NORTHERN NSW

Bathroom Design of the Year 2015 – HIA NORTHERN NSW

Michelle Burton started her design company, Designing Divas in 2012 having moved to Australia from Los Angeles, via Sydney.

“It must be something in the fantastic air in Lake Cathie”, Michelle replied to the host’s question of what makes her such a good bathroom designer. This year she also won the award for Kitchen Design of the Year 2015. See the winning entry at

Shelley Beach Homes – boutique residential sub-division – New display home

Brandon Calder Display Home - Shelly Beach, Port Macquarie

Brandon Calder Display Home – Shelly Beach, Port Macquarie

The new display home of Brandon Calder Homes is now complete on the exclusive Shelly Beach Homes residential development in Port Macquarie. Typically, for a Brandon Calder Home, this has been constructed ahead of schedule and is now open to the public by appointment. You can use the contact form on Brandon’s website. This new 3 bedroom display home represents outstanding value for money for a great design and superb finishes and attention to detail.  Not surprising as it is the combination of an award-winning builder (Brandon Calder), an award-winnng building designer (James Collins of collinswcollins) and an award winning interior designer – me (Michelle Burton of designingdivas). Plus all the qualified consultants, trades and suppliers associated with a Brandon Calder custom home.   There are only 8 lots remaining out of the 23 on this superb development (as of writing), so don’t hesitate to find out more details at That’s the plug –  I am looking forward to taking photographs once all the furniture and styling is complete.  Read the recent article in Focus Magazine.

Designing Diva features in Abode TV – interior design of new home in Port Macquarie.

abode tvDesigning Diva features in Abode TV – interior design of new home in Port Macquarie. An architect designed home built by Port Macquarie premier builder Brandon Calder (Brandon Calder Homes) is featured in a segment on Abode TV to be screened by Foxtel (and some free-to-air programmes later in the year). The contemporary new home was designed by Port Macquarie based architect Craig Teasdell and all the interior design by Michelle Burton – a designing diva.  The home also features in the March edition of Abode magazine as one of Australia’s top 12 homes.

To view the Foxel segment and Michelle’s performance click on the link below.  Enjoy the show…

Brandon Calder Homes / Designing Diva Michelle Burton:  Foxtel Abode TV segment.

Landscape designer Port Macquarie – a rainforest in a suburban garden

Designing Diva – Eva Cassegrain – was faced with a challenge recently when a client in Port Macquarie wanted the garden of their new suburban home planted with Australian rainforest species.

A site visit identified the soil type and the summer/winter areas of sunshine and shade. A concept design was prepared together with the plant and colour palette and a a note indicating the maximum tree canopy had to be around 5 metres.

rainforest gardens

rainforest gardens

Then came the problem of sourcing the plants locally, to be ready for the owners when the garden was ready for planting. Finding plants from local nurseries and growers is ideal as it means they are more likely to survive and flourish. Many plants sourced from outside the area or region tend to struggle or die. But endemic rainforset plants are not usually stocked by commercial ‘supermarket’ style outlets as these nurseries only tend to stock national favourites.

But that’s where the experience, contacts and tenacity of a Designing Diva comes in. On the next blog we will post some of the photos of the flourishing rain forest in the suburban Port macquarie garden.

For any landscape or garden advice, or to arrange a site visit anywhere in the greater Port Macquarie region, contact Designing Divas.

Renovation makeover – Lake Cathie – shack to chic

shack to chic - lake cathie

shack to chic – lake cathie

A complete redesign of a 1968 built beach shack, whilst keeping the original hardwood framing and footprint….AND  on a budget; That’s the challenge set to the Divas. The fibro shack, in Lake Cathie located on the mid north coast NSW, is an interior design challenge to say the least. The house is only 12 by 6.5 metres but sits on great corner block with a north facing backyard… A ‘renovators delight’.

Michelle Burton came up the with the interior space planning, Linda Perkins drew up the plans and followed through with all necessary council approval requirements. Julie Borger sourced some great value tiles and fittings and Eva Cassegrain has come up with a landscaping solution for the owners’ brief of creating privacy and colour. The skills of the 4 DESIGNING Divas is creating a delightful new seaside home.

The gutting of the interior is now complete, a new slab poured and the shell at lock-up stage. We will keep you updated during the development and be posting ‘under construction’ photographs soon.