A Day in the Life – The Melbourne Storey

It started with an ageing and modest family home in a suburban street in Melbourne and ended up with an incredible double storey contemporary home; refreshed and renewed into a place of beauty and a dream-come-true for the owners.

This major and exciting project first started with a call from the homeowners who had decided that their home had become a little tired and worn and required some modern invigoration to turn it into something that they had built in their minds. The first contact with the homeowners was enlightenment as they had thoroughly researched every component of renovating their home. They had been to see new home demonstrations, checked out some contemporary house extensions, talked to many designers and builders and had documented exactly what they required. The last point was a major step as the hard work they had done by defining what design they wanted (see article on form and function) ensured that the final result was exactly how they had envisioned it.

The Brief:

With the client being so clear on the required form (the look) and function (what they were going to use the extension for) of their new home design we were able to quickly establish what they wanted. The following formed part of the original brief:

  • Add a second storey to the existing home comprising of 4 bedrooms, one bathroom and a gallery.
  • Increase the current dining room space and have it back on to a large alfresco (out-door area).
  • Add a new kitchen with a large separate pantry and a new ensuite.
  • Replace or renovate all existing windows, floorings and ceilings.
  • Redesign, refurbish and waterproof the existing basement.
  • Add a new laundry with storage and additional study areas that back on to the rear garden.

This was a lot of work and a massive project to undertake. You may question whether it was actually worth building an equivalent new home. Well, it was considered but an equivalent new home would have cost the client at least 50% more and from a point of sustainability, there would have been a lot more wastage than there actually was in extending and renovating the current home.

How it happened:

The first part of the process was to get one of our very experienced designers to talk over the project with the owners and to start formulating some ideas. This process was made easier as our designer is a very open-minded and creative individual and had a great base to work from because the brief was so clear.

The building of the relationship between ourselves and the clients ensured that there was a trust between us – this is so important for any building project. Based on this trust the owners understood that if they wanted an immaculate end result then some of the older parts of the house, some of which had been subjected to some sub-standard renovations in the past, would need to be demolished and rebuilt.

Bearing in mind that the final look of the extension/ renovation had to resemble the image of a newly built house we completed both an internal and external structural and aesthetical design and build to achieve this. Some of the major work involved replacing, re-battening and replastering nearly all of the ceilings throughout the house. We also straightened, structurally corrected and patched and overlaid all the floorings with new floorboards.

Also, the basement that was mentioned in the brief was leaking water so we had to re-drain it correctly before we waterproofed it. With this done we could then build the laundry with its storage facility and the study areas, which were built backing on to the rear garden, as stated in the brief.

The process of building the new storey and creating all the required rooms and functions that the client requested went very well. Again, the importance of a clear vision and brief cannot be understated and the smoothness of the project is a testament to this.

The Outcome:

The owners were great partners in this project throughout the design and the build of their home, with communications occurring on a daily basis. They were always available at short notice and because they started this project with a clear vision they were quick and decisive when decisions needed to be made on important matters. It is imperative that the building contractor reciprocates that availability and decisiveness and on our part, we made sure that we swiftly responded to the clients’ communications and were able to provide them with clear and decisive advice when required.

In fact, the project and relationship went so well that we ended up being contracted to do extra work on the house with the owners’ increasing their original budget by 25% to do so.

You can see from the series of photos that this Melbourne ‘stor(e)y’ turned out to be a great one – one that the homeowners and ourselves were immensely proud of.

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