This new stylish contemporary 3 bedroomed home in Lake Cathie is now available FOR SALE. Built by custom home builders SAVCORP with interior design and styling by Designing Divas – interior design Port Macquarie, mid north coast NSW.

Billabong Zoo renovations

Billabong Zoo – design team

Billabong Zoo, Port Macquarie – interior design project.

This is an extract from a recent interview in Focus Magazine, Port Macquarie with interior designer Michelle Burton.

“It was great working with the owners, as they were clear on what they wanted to achieve (they have been planning this renovation for 15 years!). It was my job to interpret their thoughts into practical working drawings and material specifications, as well as liaising with the architect on some specific space-planning elements. Overall, I would describe the new interior as Contemporary Australiana with a local flavour. Port Macquarie is a popular coastal town, and the nature of this leading regional zoo is to look after animals from all over Australia, as well as caring for exotic overseas animals such as the Lions, Snow Leopards, Cheetahs and Red Pandas. Quite a mix … Which is what you will discover when you walk through the new building. It is now fresh and open to accentuate the lines of the existing architecture, with an interior that now blurs indoor/outdoor – incorporating all-weather finishes and materials readapted to suit indoor use. You will also discover a contemporary colour palette tying all the elements together. I rarely say the over-used term “wow factor”, but I am guessing that many of the zoo’s regular visitors will go “wow” when they step into the new atrium area.

Is the project finished?  “Far from it. This is the first stage, and there are exciting new additions planned for 2018. I am looking forward to continuing working with Mark and Danena (their passion is inspiring) and Rob Snow the architect in developing ideas and plans for the next design stage. A great design team!”


More in future posts and a link to the full article in Focus magazine Jan 2018 edition. And Happy 2018 to everyone. 


PGH Bricks & Pavers inspired by a DESiGNiNG Divas kitchen design in King Creek

pghPGH has posted a case history of a recently completed DESiGNiNG Divas designed kitchen at King Creek, NSW 2446. You can see the PGH article here.  They are also going to include it in their newsletter and feature it Architectural News. Very exciting for us. We had a lovely client on this design project who was open to ideas which changed what could have been a drab kitchen into something dramatic. In the words of the client “I love our new kitchen. In fact all the family are getting the most out of it and friends seem to be coming round more often than usual since it was finished”  To see more pictures and info about this King Creek kitchen visit our Portfolio section – click here 

Property staging your house to sell – Port Macquarie real estate

Designing Divas offers real estate agents and homeowners a full home  staging service for properties thoughout the Port Macquarie / Hastings area. We love this side of our business. We love it when agents call us to say the property has been SOLD.  We have styled properties for the following local real estate agents recently – L J Hooker, McGrath, Percivals as well as clients directly who have used their own agents to sell their property.  We have also increased our stock of Style for Hire items … so we are gearing up for  further growth. More details on the Designing Divas website.

You may also want to read a recent article from L J Hooker. Here are some highlights from this interesting blog: 

Does styling boost your sales price?

 When, why and how to style your home.

Property Styling your home will boost final sales price from 7.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent, according to a survey of the top agents in the LJ Hooker network in Australia. …

The surveyed real estate agents were strikingly unanimous in their opinion of how much styling can impact the sales price. The real estate agents surveyed represent the best real estate knowledge available in Australia, and consist of 23 members of LJ Hooker’s elite Innovation Team…

Property Styling means to decorate and organize your home and garden to look their best on inspection days. 

Vendors can style their own property, but LJ Hooker real estate agents agree it is better to hire a professional property stylist who can view your home with objectivity and has experience …

The benefits of home styling:

• Higher sales price

• Quicker sale

• More bidders, offers or interested parties

To read the full article click Does Styling Boost Your Sales Price?

National award winning interior designer, Port Macquarie


extract from a recent magazine interview

What’s involved in personalised interior styling to a custom built home?

Michelle Burton, Designing Divas: Brandon Calder Homes is one of the few quality building firms locally who recognise the importance of interior design when it comes to a person’s personal space. We have a number of meetings with clients to go over their wish list. Every client is different. Every home is styled differently. However there a few fundamentals we always cover: overall colour palette, then colour selection room by room, kitchen design and fixtures and fitting, same with the bathroom and ensuites, laundries are also individually designed to suit a family’s use. Storage needs are different for each family. Clients are really surprised at the huge choice available to truly customise their home –  it’s my role to steer them in a cohesive way and to advise if they are going outside their budget. Part of the Brandon Calder Homes process is to accompany clients to local tile, flooring, bathroom, lighting and kitchen showrooms. As well as presenting all types of finishes and products such as handles and door furniture at our design studio. Of course we also utilise the extensive on-line galleries. At this stage we will also discuss the outdoor landscaping and if necessary bring in our landscape designer to ensure the outside complements the interior of the home. Getting the design right at the early stages makes for a successful outcome: a beautifully styled custom home, on budget and on-time.

download a pdf of the full article.

15 bathroom trends splashing down in 2016

Designing Divas –  bathroom renovations Port Macquarie 

Screenshot 2015-11-17 12.47.49This is a great provoking article recently published by Houzz

“Renovating your bathroom is a big investment in terms of both time and money, so it’s important to do your homework before you start. While creating a budget and searching for the right designer are important pre-renovation tasks, so too is writing a bathroom wish list. Doing this will ensure you have a clear vision of how you want your revamped space to look, work and feel. 

If you desperately need a spark of inspiration, reading up on the latest bathroom trends can help you get on track and pinpoint what you want and need. And there’s no better place to start than with the 2016 trend predictions we’ve rounded up for you below from four Houzz experts. ..:

Read more at 

View Designing Divas – Interior Designers Port Macquarie – Houzz gallery 

Design a home that brings your family together


The following article is taken from an article written by Late Maces for HOUZZ – one of our favourite interior design websites:


Media room - designed by Designing Divas - Master Builders Home of the Year 2013

Media room – designed by Designing Divas – Master Builders Home of the Year 2013

(features a media room designed by Michelle Burton of Designing Divas (Port Macquarie) for Brandon Calder Homes)

George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying: “A happy family is but an earlier heaven,” and so right he was. A family, however you define it, is often essential to our wellbeing at both a personal and societal level. Families provide security, love and support. And this feeds our souls. But, let’s face it, maintaining a close family is not always easy. Like anything worthwhile, it takes time, perseverance and a good dose of humour. One of the most crucial elements to healthy family life is connection. We need to spend time with each other to build bonds and nurture relationships. Parenting experts, from Dr Spock to Dr William Sears, preach the importance of attachment between parents and children. In our busy western world, it can be difficult to carve out the time necessary to create these strong bonds, but there are many ways we can use our home to facilitate this. Take a look at the rooms below to see how they have been used or styled to provide an environment conducive to interactive family life.

The article goes on to talk about the following: a games or rumpus room; a library; a while house; a home theatre; a backyard; backyard sports; a vegetable garden; the kitchen; the dining room; a blackboard; a craft room; a multipurpose room; a music room, decorate the house; a quiet space.

A fascinating article which highlights the need to carefully consider every space to suit your lifestyle. To view the full article on House design a home that brings your family together.

That’s why you should contact Designing Divas – we make the difficult interior design decisions a rewarding experience. Contact us today.]

How much does a kitchen bench top cost?


The following article is taken from an article written by Anne Ellard for HOUZZ – one of our favourite interior design websites:


001Choosing a kitchen benchtop is one of the most exciting parts of the design process. As benchtops bear the brunt of the wear and tear in the kitchen, picking the right one is also one of the most difficult decisions to make, particularly when it comes to materials. With so many options available, it can take time to narrow down your options and choose wisely, but knowing how much you can expect to pay for different materials can help with the selection process. Prices will vary from supplier to supplier, but here’s a good indication of costings to help you on your way. The article compares the following bench top surfaces: granite; marble; quartz; solid timber; stainless steel; polished concrete, solid surface; laminate.

A great article highlighting pros & cons of kitchen bench top choices and price comparisons. To read the full article Houzz kitchen bench top choices and cost comparisons.

To visit the Houzz entry of Michelle Burton of Designing Divas visit Houzz – Michelle Burton (SMB) (nb listed under Michelle’s Sydney based interior design company SMB Interior Design.)

Contact Michelle today if you are considering a new kitchen. She recently won the 2015 HIA Northern NSW Kitchen Design of the Year.

Michelle Burton : HIA NNSW WINNER 2015 - Kitchen Design of the Year

Michelle Burton : HIA NNSW WINNER 2015 – Kitchen Design of the Year


Styling a home for sale

Focus Magazine October 2015 - Designing Divas article page 111

Focus Magazine, Port Macquarie (Oct 2015) – Designing Divas article, page 111

“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 (Oct 2015 issue)

“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 Oct 15 issue, page 111)  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

Kitchen Design of 2015 – Winner HIA Northern NSW

Michelle Burton, principal interior designer of Designing Divas is the winner of Kitchne 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 Kitchen 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; kitchen built and installed by Designer Living Kitchens

Kitchen Design of the Year 2015 - HIA awards

Kitchen Design of the Year 2015 – HIA awards

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 kitchen designer. This year she also won the award for Bathroom Design of the Year 2015. See the winning entry at