It’s not every day that you see a two-bedroom unit transformed to deliver a genuine WOW factor – yet that is exactly what Lisa Kefford has achieved with her recently completed Carnergie apartment; a high-end apartment intently focused on breaking the dollar value in the local market.

For Lisa, renovating for profit is a lifestyle choice. Walking away from a career in merchant banking and financial markets to study and work in interior design, and also building & construction.

Purchasing Kingsley Parade with her husband on a whim in 2018, the two-bedroom unit on the same block as their home was intended to be an outlet for her interior design skills, a place for Lisa to get familiar working with trades and an ideal start-to-finish portfolio piece.

We’re in a place where you can’t depend on your savings or your super. That’s the reason it’s a lifestyle choice – a small business to keep me active and involved, doing something that I love – both in interior design and developing for profit. I just always want to be doing something and keeping busy.

Lisa’s father was a builder, and although she had her heart set on an apprenticeship as a chippie, he told her “Girls don’t take up tools!” Fast track to 2020, Lisa is happy to observe that women are in, doing the work – and loving it.


Lisa had observed that there is an abundance of older units in the Carnegie area, telling us I really wanted to put an Archi/interior design footprint on the refresh – the renovations that happen in Carnegie are just basic. Many were also built in the mid-nineties like this one, yet hardly any have been updated beyond a lick of paint and some fresh flooring.

Lisa wanted to create a current apartment environment with open plan living and a sense of being fresh and alive, but in an older building envelope. Adding plenty of storage and high-quality fixtures and finishes, Lisa wanted to put her fingerprint on the outdated space and strip it back to create something totally unique.


With any project, there’s going to be some hurdles. As Lisa and her husband’s purchase was unplanned, they had no finance, and encountered some dramas getting it in the difficult lending period of mid 2018.

With a lot of savings under their belt which they had intended to use to renovate, the lender took the savings away and tied up those funds in the mortgage. Lisa had just finished her studies and was yet to resume full-time work, so on one salary, the couple felt unfairly manipulated by the lender.

A few months after the purchase, prior to finance, Lisa joined BuildHer for some workshops, yet kept her cards held very close to her chest. Lisa was intent on beginning the project on her own, admitting she didn’t necessarily have a process, but utilising the expertise of her builder father when she felt stuck.

It wasn’t until two months after the purchase that Lisa let Rebeka in on what she was up to with the project! Unable to get the finance to complete the renovation, Lisa occupied herself through 2018 and 2019 planning the design, while picking up bits of casual work to keep afloat, finally landing an office job which spurred their plans in the right direction.

When they re-applied to draw some funds for the renovation in early 2020, Lisa was able to tap in and get the renovation budget. From February this year, the refresh ramped up – just as Covid reared its ugly, plan-destroying head.

But after completing BuildHer workshops and continuing her study, Lisa felt well-equipped to manage the project, recently completing internal and external renovation of the unit and listing it for sale this week!


The impressive final product is a progressive, light-filled space with no hint of its outdated 90’s roots. Finessed to perfection and with no stone left unturned, it’s now a home consistent in its clean finishes and usable spaces, both indoors and in the refurbished courtyard.

I’ve done things deliberately since meeting Kribashini and Rebeka – planning for those AHA moments. I took those on and I’ve deliberately maxxed it out. Everyone that has walked in at different stages has been very surprised by what I can achieve!

Lisa’s favourite room is the kitchen. Sleek cabinetry wrap around an oversized bench, perfect for the downsizer that’s used to entertaining. Wanting to put this design into her own home, Lisa tells us the layout has been in her head for ten years. She’s already planning to update her next space with another version of this beautiful kitchen design.

The Norman Copenhagen bell lamp pendants are Lisa’s favourite feature, carrying through the living spaces and bedrooms. She’s also mad for her wall hooks!

I love bespoke stuff and honour using true authentic design pieces in anything – whether it’s my dress or bag, I’ve been brought up to honour authentic design and the designer, who has potentially taken years to create that piece.

It’s all in the details. Other hero selections include the beautiful slim tapware, and kitchen handles she loves so much that that she’s carried them across to the bedrooms’ wardrobes – and her own home.

The amount of storage is also one of Lisa’s favourite aspects, reducing clutter and allowing the tenant to enjoy an increased sense of space.

All the real estate guys that came to look through and the property stylist were all shocked with the renovation – it’s so much more than the basics!

Just this week, the property lands on the market with Jellis Craig. You can view the listing HERE.

It’s relief that we’re at this (completed) point. We got there after every adversary, but now we are ready for a new challenge – the sale listings. With Covid and how it’s impacted auctions and sales, now we have to navigate that whole process.


With another project under her belt, Lisa tells us it’s time to step it up.

Absolutely ready for a house – this project’s been a baptism of fire in every aspect!

We don’t owe any money on the home we live in, so we would like to use it as leverage to purchase our next development for profit. We will use some proceeds from the sale to renovate our own home – update kitchen and living area, convert a laundry to a bathroom, and to build a deck and update the backyard!

Whether we stay here for a while is yet to be decided. I’m pretty gun-ho right now and I hope I maintain the enthusiasm.

That’s what we like to hear, Lis! It’s all guns blazing, full steam ahead for this passionate BuildHer. It’s been wonderful watching a fully-fledged refresh take place on this lucky apartment, and we can’t wait to see Lisa use her interior design skills to tackle a house. Follow Lisa on Instagram HERE.

If you’re ready to take the leap from BuildHer to DevelopHer and start developing for profit (and just like Lisa – add a little “WOW”), then we invite you to book in for a consult call to talk about how we can help you make it happen. Click the link HERE to book in a free 30 minute chat with our Style Guru Rachel. 

Also, thanks to Dylan James for these amazing photos!

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