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Home Truths – the fact and fiction of reality reno shows

Home and design reality TV shows are hugely popular, but they don’t always portray the whole picture when it comes to renovating or building your own home.


Our expert panel will delve into some popular myths and misconceptions arising from reality TV shows, and provide insights and advice about what it really takes to make a great home.


Presented by ArchiTeam and Sounds Like Design, our panellists include:

  • Renovation Survivor, Emma Telfer (Director of Culture and Strategy at Assemble, who renovated her own home in 2016, and was surprised by how much she didn’t know about the process, especially given her work in design advocacy);
  • Architect + TV Subject, Marc Bernstein (founder of Melbourne Design Studios, whose own home is currently under construction in front of the TV cameras for Grand Designs Australia)
  • Architect + Reno Specialist, Sarah Hobday-North (whose practice Value Architects Group provides “super smart architectural services at fixed prices, with no surprises”).
  • Architect + Renovators’ Secret Ally, Amelia Lee (founder of Undercover Architect, provider of courses, support and mentoring for home builders and renovators); and
  • Journalist + Architectural Comms Advisor, Rachael Bernstone (founder of Sounds Like Design, and good design advocate)

Our panellists:

Emma Telfer     

Bio: A passionate urbanist and cultural leader, Emma is deeply interested in the role housing strategy, urban design and architecture plays in shaping our cities and communities. Emma recently joined Assemble as Director of Culture & Strategy, leading all brand, community engagement, advocacy and cultural initiatives across the housing development business. Emma previously spent three years at the helm of Open House Melbourne, a public architecture organisation and registered charity that works to improve design literacy and appreciation for the value of good design in the built environment.

Marc Bernstein

Bio: Marc Bernstein, with his partner Felicity, leads Melbourne Design Studios (MDS), a multi-award-winning, upcoming architecture practice. He is a certified Passive House designer, accredited Thermal Performance Assessor and known for his holistic approach to sustainable architecture and contemporary design. He also co-founded Hütt, a start-up enterprise he likes to call the “Tesla of Housing”, that aims to change Australia’s carbon footprint for good with net- zero future ready homes. Hütt’s first project – Marc and Felicity’s own home – is a certified Passive House and its ‘rocky road to construction’ is currently being filmed by one of Australia’s favourite home TV shows.

Sarah Hobday-North

Bio: Sarah Hobday-North is a registered architect who learned her craft through 10 years of architectural practice in Melbourne and two years in urban design in the UK. She is also a qualified teacher, and is still learning. Sarah founded Value Architects Group in 2016 with a purpose to make high quality design available to people and organisations who did not previously consider it an option, a possibility, or even their right to access. Her current clients include homeowners, church groups and the Fitzroy Legal Service. Sarah has designed and lived through her own renovation and loves singing early choral music.

Amelia Lee

Bio: Amelia Lee is an architect with over 25 years experience in over 250 projects, mostly residential. And over a twelve year period, she and her husband also completed 3 renovation/builds of their own. Around six years ago, she started Undercover Architect, a business that operates mainly online to help and teach homeowners how to get it right when designing, building or renovating their homes. With online courses, a top ten podcast and a well-loved blog, Undercover Architect is your secret ally, whoever you’re working with, and whatever your dreams, your location or your budget.

Rachael Bernstone

Bio: Rachael Bernstone is a journalist who has a Masters in Architecture History and Theory, and specialises in design related issues. She founded Sounds Like Design to promote conversations about architecture and de-mystify architectural language for the public – the ultimate users of designed buildings and spaces. She completed a Churchill Fellowship into Sustainable and Affordable Housing in 2003, and continues to advocate for good design outcomes, to enhance the way we live and protect the environment.


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