17 Aug



This is the official blog of James Cleveland. I am an avid renovator living in Sydney, Australia, I have renovate over 14 properties in inner west Sydney and the eastern suburbs of Sydney and this blog provided ideas and tips and recommendations for fellow “would be home renovators”. My background is in civil engineering but i gave that away in 2001 to effectively become a full time renovator which i love. I look forward to sharing my renovating up’s and down’s and in’s and out’s and let you access my world in 2016!

Paddington Terrace House Renovation 2014

Paddington Terrace House Renovation 2014


18 Aug

Tradesman I Recommend – Electrician Inner West

Major Electrical Work – Balmain Property

It can be a daunting task to source tradesmen that are reliable and do a great job at a fair price. In renovating a property in Balmain (N.S.W) we discovered that the houses wiring had degraded to such a point that there was a risk of electrical short circuits and potentially even a fire should the active and neutral wires accidentally touch due to degraded insulation on the 60 plus year old wiring  in the loft space. The wiring was “stapled” to the timber rafters in the loft and in many places the insulation had literally dropped away revealing bare copper wires carrying 240 v.a.c. voltage – a dangerous proposition.

We called in James a licensed electrician at Electrician Inner West who are based in Leichhardt and do all ‘household’ electrical work as well as commercial work. They are experienced and fully insured and have excellent customer feedback. The work involved was not only rewiring but a full electrical refurbishment and upgrade. The scope of the electrical work included:

  • 4 new telephone sockets in various rooms installed
  • ADSL / Foxtel outlets in all rooms
  • all mains 240 volt cable replaced. This included lighting circuits, power points, wiring to switchboard and wiring in roof
  • new switchboard with r.c.d. ‘safety switches’ installed
  • Clipsal C-Bus energy management and lighting control system installation
  • light dimmers in all rooms
  • l.e.d. lights and wall lights installed
  • smoke detectors installed in all bedrooms, hallways and living areas
  • Clipsal SILC downlights were specified

Electrical Work Schedule

This is obviously a very extensive electrical upgrade to any property and the work took around 3 weeks to complete. The Clipsal SILC down lights are an amazing technology.

 Intelligent l.e.d. downlight system

Clpisal Intelligent l.e.d. downlight system

Developed in Australia the system allows you to control the lighting via your smartphone or tablet. It is a very energy efficient system and has proven to be a winner in terms of adding ‘luxury’ as well as value to the home.

Data Ready. The electricians installed internet and data cabling so access for foxtel, internet, wifi and audio is available in all rooms in the house (bar the toilet – we stopped there!) making the house ‘data ready’!. Power outlets included in most location an integrated USB mech option. These are essentially your ‘bog standard’ power outlets but with a usb charger socket built into them. The electricians advised that they also offer energy saving benefits.

Outdoor Lighting

James installed security lighting, again, high efficiency, around the property and ran low voltage cabling via buried conduit throughout the garden beds to allow installation of magical garden bed l.e.d. miniature lights – fantastic! Clipsal, again, were specified as their

the clipsal wall lights we used

the clipsal wall lights we used

range of products, in my opinion, is good not only in terms of quality but also specification and meets ‘architectural’ standards for ‘upmarket’ property renovations. We extnsively used their outdoor wall lights – link below.

Using the ‘right’ tradesmen, when renovating is critical. We were extremely happy with Electrician Inner West’s work and would recommend them to anyone in Sydney’s inner west needed a skilled electrical contractor or emergency electrician.

Clipsal outdoor lighting range: https://www.clipsal.com/Home-Owner/Products/Lighting/Outdoor-Lights

Clipsal Silc system: https://www.clipsal.com/Consumer/Silc/What-is-it

Clipsal Product Range

17 Aug

Number One Tips For Renovating In Sydney – 2106

Whether you are renovating your home or developing old properties for profit, my 16 years of renovating via the ‘school of hard knocks’ has taught me a few lessons worth passing on. You can save a fortune bu following these tips:

Tip One – Never Employ Kitchen or Bathroom ‘renovation’ Companies

You must have seen ads for a bathroom renovation saying ” new bathrooms from $16,000″ or “new kitchens from $18,000” – FORGET IT!

Part One – New Bathrooms

In my experience a modern, sleek bathroom renovation, assuming no change in plumbing location is required, should cost you no more than $8000! – YES, $8,000

How is this possible?? Here’s how:

  1. subcontract out all services – plumbers, electricians and tilers
  2. a good tiler can tile a bathroom for $1,000 – YES $1,000
  3. a plumber can plumb a new bathroom for $1,500
  4. a decent electrician can rewire a bathroom for around $900 depending on the lights, exhaust systems and heated towel rails you need
  5. new vanities cost $200 – $500
  6. bath tubs cost a measly $300
  7. shower cubicles cost $500
  8. tiles – well, an entire bathroom full of tiles, floor to ceiling can be your for less than $400 – YES, $400

bathroom renovation

In part 2 we look at the in’s and out’s of saving tens of thousands of dollars on that new kitchen or bathroom and how to find a good tiler, plumber or sparky.

17 Aug

Sydney property market – August 2016: Where to from here?

The R.B.A. , in their August 2016 statement has indicated that global economies continue to be uninspiring, the commodities boom is dead and the local property market is now less exuberant due to the R.B.A’s  supervisory measures. They State:

“Supervisory measures have strengthened lending standards in the housing market. Separately, a number of lenders are also taking a more cautious attitude to lending in certain segments. The most recent information suggests that dwelling prices have been rising only moderately over the course of this year, with considerable supply of apartments scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years, particularly in the eastern capital cities. Growth in lending for housing purposes has slowed a little this year. All this suggests that the likelihood of lower interest rates exacerbating risks in the housing market has diminished. 

Taking all these considerations into account, the Board judged that prospects for sustainable growth in the economy, with inflation returning to target over time, would be improved by easing monetary policy at this meeting.”

I see this as a reasonably positive statement, from a property renovators view. certainly the heat has gone out of the property market in inner west Sydney and the eastern suburbs. The newly formed inner west council looks set to operate in a more professional manner than the 3 councils they now replace. This may, hopefully, transpire into more inner west councileffective planning decisions and speedier development application approvals – we live in hope!