DevelopHer Breeze’s Blueprint to Sanctuary NoCo Apartment Transformation

The process of buying an apartment before it’s even built can be full of surprises. But for this apartment in Northcote, it became more than just signing papers—it turned into a team effort. DevelopHer Breeze, dealing with changes in life and unexpected waiting times, changed the original plan to make a special place for herself and her daughter. Let’s dive into how these changes made this apartment feel like home.

You purchased this apartment off the plan. Can you tell me about the changes you made to make it suitable for you?

Absolutely, it was a bit of a journey… When I first signed the contract in 2017, I had just separated from my partner and was looking for something low-maintenance in Northcote for me and my daughter, Anouk. Anouk was one year old at the time, and we were told we would be moving into the new build in early to mid-2018. Two years later, there was still a supermarket operating on the site where the apartments were meant to be going up, and there was no word as to when construction might commence. I started to feel like I had outgrown the apartment before it was built, so I decided to pivot and inquire with the real estate agent as to whether there were any three-bedroom apartments for sale in the building. There were none available within my budget, however, the apartment next door to mine had not sold. The agent and I made a pitch to the developer that I should buy half of the apartment next door, leaving them with a studio apartment and me with the extra space I was looking for to make the following changes:

  • Added a 3rd bedroom
  • Created a larger master bedroom with a walk-in robe
  • Made the main bathroom bigger and added a bath (for the child and the dog + resale value)
  • Turned a European laundry into a separate laundry, with additional shelving and a storage cupboard.
  • Changed the orientation of the kitchen to allow for more bench space, and made sure I kept the island bench which is one of my favorite places to hang out in the whole apartment.
  • Bought a second car park
  • Added shelving in the kitchen and storage in the island bench


Here’s the original Floor Plans

What was the process like to purchase off the plan, and were you able to make selections along the way?

It was actually really easy to buy off the plan, and when I first signed the contract, I was really excited. I kept wandering down to the site and imagining the building going up and Anouk and I living there. However, as the delays continued and the years started rolling by – it became torturous, and I wondered if it was ever going to happen. I had no visibility over the build or what was causing the delays, and the communication from the developer at the time was minimal and lacked transparency. There was a silver lining, though, which is that I was able to expand on my apartment and have input on my own floor plan which I think is very unique. The apartment would not be what it is today if those delays hadn’t happened, and I feel really grateful that I was able to collaborate with the developer and get the plan changes over the line before they had commenced construction.

As far as selections go, the developer was offering two separate interior packages, with either a light or dark aesthetic. I chose the lighter version and opted for upgrades on tapware and appliances. I also managed to make a number of other tweaks to make the place as functional as possible, which included:

  • Installing ceiling fans in the living room and all of the bedrooms, which have paid themselves off a million times over! I purchased these myself and sent them to the builder who installed them prior to settlement
  • I had the fridge cavity plumbed
  • Added water, gas, and electric outlets on the balcony so I can water my plants easily and hook a BBQ directly to the gas source
  • I added additional power points throughout the apartment (including on the island bench) and had tv aerials installed on three different walls to allow for versatile interior styling and orientation
  • I added shelving and wall hooks at the entrance
  • Added pendant lights in the bathrooms
  • Had an electrician pre-wire a position for a pendant light in the dining room so I could have one easily installed after I moved in.

How have you made this space yours?

After reworking the floor plan and adding all the extra things I needed to make it functional and spacious, I filled the place with things I love. I have a clichéd addiction to indoor plants which are everywhere, and I’ve left my mark with all the additional add-ons that I mentioned above. I have created a space that feels more like a home than an apartment, and that’s what I like about it the most.

Styling plays a massive part in the build process – you seem to be a natural – what are your top tips?

In general, my top tip for styling apartments is to make them feel as spacious as possible.

  • Clear as much as you can off kitchen benchtops to make the kitchen feel open and spacious. (I hide my dishrack, toaster, and kettle away in the cupboard before every inspection.)
  • Remove incidental furniture from the hallway and small bedrooms. I removed a sideboard from the hallway that I was using to store cookbooks and wine and a small side table that I had at the front door. I also removed a desk and a bookshelf from my daughter’s bedroom.
  • Consider putting mirrors around the place; they always make a room feel bigger.
  • If you have a nice original piece of art or a knick-knack, don’t be afraid to use it. It will add some of your personalities to space and make it feel different from the standard styling out there where everything starts to look the same.
  • Put a small plant and nice towels in the bathroom/s
  • Hide all your clutter and anything personal, including photos of friends and family, kids’ drawings, etc.
  • Put good quality linen on the beds.
  • Lastly, here’s a hot tip for styling a kid’s room before an inspection – If they have a double bed, throw a king-sized linen doona cover straight over the top of the existing sheets and doona, and tuck it in all around the edges. Then arrange your cushions on top and that’s it! Super easy to do twice a week before an inspection and makes the room look classy.

Before and After

What have you loved about living here, and why are you now selling? What is next on your journey?

I have loved so much about living here; it has been a total sanctuary in a great location. I love the design of the building and the interior design by Mim Design is stunning. The curved balconies on the exterior are echoed inside with the curved island bench, curved windows, and even a curved range hood. I love the all-day natural light that flows through the place through the North-East aspect, people watching from the balcony, staring at uninterrupted sky from my bed, walking down to Ceres Market and along merry creek and wandering up to Northcote shops and nearby parks. It’s such a great area to live in, and it’s incredibly handy to live above an IGA.

I’m selling for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I really want to give my daughter a backyard. She is Autistic and has ADHD and needs a space to run, swing on some monkey bars and bounce on a trampoline. She has been repetitively doing handstands and back bends in the kitchen for months on end, and we both need this energy to be taken outside!

The other reason I’m selling is that I am ready to buy a house that needs renovating – I want to officially commence my DevelopHer journey by buying something old that needs work. I will miss my beautiful apartment so much, but it’s time to take the leap and renovate for profit!


Thanks for sharing your incredible story Breeze, we can’t wait to see what you do next!


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