Rezza style: Interior designer Chris Carroll on life in Reservoir
Chris Carroll is an interior designer and stylist whose company is TLC Interiors.
Where do you live?
In Reservoir, about 12km north of Melbourne’s CBD. My partner and I bought our townhouse a little over two years ago. I’d only moved to Melbourne from Sydney the year before, and was renting in Richmond. When the time came to purchase, sadly we had to go further out to the ‘burbs. Melbourne is definitely more affordable than Sydney but Richmond was out of the question budget-wise. But we’re planning to sell our current home this year, take the profit, and put it into an apartment closer to the CBD.
What property do you own?
The townhouse is the only property I own.
What do you love most about your home?
It’s a three-bedder, two-bathroom, two-storey home on a decent block. There’s actual room — you don’t get that in a city apartment. So, while I’m not living in my dream suburb, the space is amazing. Plus, it’s brand new (we purchased off the plan), so even two years in, everything still feels modern and fresh and untouched. And I actually own the home. I can bang nails into walls and try all the DIY I want — bonus!
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Have you changed anything about your home?
Minor things like carpet, but considering I’m going to sell this year I’m withholding all my black-painted-wall fantasies until I move into the next home. I wanted to install wallpaper, pendants, floating shelves — you name it. But I don’t want to do all that with selling in mind, because it’s not going to help increase the sale price.
One more thing you’d change?
If this home could be picked up and relocated to Carlton, Richmond or Hawthorn, I’d be one happy camper. The location is the only downside. Well, except the lawn. I had this suburban, barbecue-in-the-leafy-backyard fantasy before we moved in. But truth be told, yards are hard work. I am absolutely not built for mowing and am craving a concrete balcony I can pop a small barbie on with an outdoor setting and be done.
How many homes have you ever lived in?
Tonnes! I moved around heaps as a kid. I probably lived in 15 rental homes before my parents finally purchased, and I actually loved it. I loved the change. All that moving sparked my love for interior design. I loved getting into a new home and arranging furniture in my room and decorating a new space. I would happily move every six months even now. If only it were that easy.
The most memorable?
The home my parents finally purchased was great because I could paint my room. It was the best thing since sliced bread. You’d think a teenage boy would have more exciting things to do than paint his bedroom. But, clearly, I wasn’t your average teenage boy. I painted it a few times, actually. And bought all new furniture for it.
Are you a keen or reluctant property buyer?
I am on real-estate websites every day, no joke. I love the hunt. I love scoping out the floorplan and figuring out where all my stuff would go. It’s like falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. I spend hours of an evening scrolling and scrolling. It’s such good fun. The only thing I find daunting is the auction process. My heart couldn’t take falling in love with a place and then losing it to someone else. Is there any greater downer in life?
How many homes have you ever bought and ever sold?
Just bought the one and will soon sell that. Being an interior designer has been a bonus because all the real estate agents who’ve come to value the property have said there’s no need for any home staging because it looks amazing and is in mint condition. I was lapping up the praise.
The highlights of your property journey?
Finally getting into your first purchased property does change you. It makes you feel more grounded. I never thought I would feel that way but after moving into my first home, I did feel different. Life felt more sorted. It was an amazing feeling.
There honestly haven’t been any — except mowing the lawn!
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Best property advice you’ve heard?
The best time to buy a property was yesterday. It’s true. Get on the ladder as soon as you can. I didn’t get into my first purchased home until I was 35 and I wish I had done it 10 years earlier.
Tips for homebuyers?
Don’t hold out forever for the ‘perfect’ home in the ‘perfect’ suburb. If you need to, buy a stepping-stone home and live in it for a few years. The time goes so quickly. Buy in a suburb that’s about to boom and a few years down the track you can then head toward a preferred neighbourhood. It’s better to have your own home in a not-perfect suburb than be renting in the suburb of your dreams and paying off someone else’s mortgage.
Future property plans?
I have tinkered with the idea of investment properties, plus buying and flipping (after doing some reno work), but with all my design work, brand partnerships, video content and TV work, I honestly don’t think I have the time (or the emotional stability) to cope with the idea of living on a reno site — I’m not built for it.