Like many of the homeowners who commission us to renovate or extend their homes, the owner of this North Manly property wanted to create more usable outdoor spaces to soak up the Sydney summer.
Originally a beach shack, the home had been renovated many times over and wasn’t in the best shape, with asbestos cladding and a dilapidated deck. There were also no entertaining spaces, and the area at the side of the house was underutilised.
We divided the renovation into two stages – this meant that the owner, Tim*, had more control over his budget, and allowed him to stay in the house during the renovation. In stage one, we removed the asbestos and re-cladded the exterior, built a deck at the side and front of the home, re-paved the side path and added built-in planters to house herbs and veggies. We also built a new laundry and bathroom at the back of the house, which required us to put down a new slab and manage the installation of new plumbing.
During stage two, we focused our efforts inside. The original kitchen ceiling was very low, which made the room feel cramped and closed-in. So, we vaulted the ceiling to increase the sense of space, added a new sky light to maximise the natural light, and installed new lighting and an air conditioner. The interior walls were also rundown, so we re-cladded the living area and bedroom with the same Weathertech cladding that we used outside. Storage was also lacking, so we custom made a built-in wardrobe in the bedroom, and a TV cabinet in the living room.
The owner has recently become a dad, so the new decking and outside spaces means he can safely spend time outside with his son, enjoying that beautiful Sydney sunshine. The interior changes have also made a huge difference to how he uses the home on a daily basis, with the kitchen’s increased light and space encouraging more cooking and entertaining.
In mid 2018, we visited the home for an initial free consultation [link to building process page], and returned four times over the next two months to discuss their needs and firm up the plans. The house was on heritage watch, so extra care was needed when submitting the plans for approval, and choosing finishes and fittings.
Building started in October 2018. The exterior remained the same, but we removed most of the internal walls to improve the home’s layout, added a new laundry at the back of the home and extended the roof, converted the existing bathroom/laundry into a master bath, fitted an entirely new kitchen, replaced all of the flooring, and added two new fireplaces to the living areas. The home is surrounded by greenery, so we also added in new windows to maximise the natural light and create spectacular views from every room.
We’re particularly proud of the transformation in the open-plan living and kitchen space. What was once a dreary, awkwardly-shaped kitchen is now a thoughtfully designed entertainer’s delight awash with natural light. The owner, Jill, had a specific profile in mind for the kitchen cabinetry, and to fulfil this need we embarked on a lengthy journey to find the right cabinet maker for the job. The end result is well worth the effort.
Building finished in February 2019, and we’ve returned several times to check in with Jill and Martin. They love their new space, especially cosying up to the fireplaces in the winter months, and spending time with friends and family in the spacious kitchen. Our work with them has also led to several referrals.
*Names have been changed to maintain the homeowners’ privacy.