Before digging any holes or knocking down walls, we spent a lot of time researching, going to home expo’s, speaking to people in-the-know, and putting pen to paper. We knew going into this that being in a house over a hundred years old, there might be some hidden surprises. We weren’t planning to knock down the entire house, but just add to it. Maybe what seems like should be a simple thing to do, i.e just add to a house, was actually a bigger hurdle than first expected.
When we first inspected our house, I really wasn’t too sure about it. It was a great size block, something hard to come by in the inner suburbs of Sydney and the price was good, a bit of a stretch for us at the time, but now with the market we’re in, it was a steal. But it did have some work to do. I was put off by the old extension as it had the only toilet on the property, its layout awkward. Imagine going to the toilet and your view is of the kitchen, even worse for my husband preparing dinner and seeing me on the toilet… The other issue was the large block of units that overlooked the backyard, with only 2 trees to provide privacy, everything was still in full view.
The house was on the market for a number of years actually, with no one interested, so for it to fall in our hands makes me think it was made for us.
We put the house up for rent after giving it a quick makeover, new paint and added 5 slender weaver bamboo’s to provide some privacy. Can I just mention, bamboo’s are amazing! It has only taken them 2-3 years to reach 10 metres – perfect timing for us when we moved into the house.
For the sake of character and charm
We decided not to knock down the whole house and start from scratch as it has been important to us to reserve the detail of the house, particularly in the front rooms. Our hardwood floors are cypress pine, our ceilings are adorned with Victorian features and we have a fireplace. I don’t think I could part with these period features, but as a result, we have had to consider how to approach the house extension without affecting these ceilings.
It’s about who you know
Thankfully, Anthony has some family friends who have been in the building industry for years, one of them teaching courses on building at TAFE. So to draft our ideas together we enlisted his help and guidance. This process was actually quite smooth, a little long because our project was more a favour and something to do on the side.
The new addition would mean a total floor area of 239.4m2 (about 64% of the land now taken up with house).
We weren’t allowed to go two-storey, but having experienced living in Mum’s two-storey house, I was quite happy to stay single level and avoid the pain of carrying vacuums up and down stairs, or putting rails in to prevent Aidan from falling down the stairs. It would just be an incovenience for our family to have them there. So we have planned for a larger kitchen a 2nd family room, a master bedroom with ensuite, new bathroom and laundry room. The patio isn’t large, but there’s still potential to create an outdoors entertainment area in front of the garage.
Time to submit
Once the plans were drawn up, BASIX done, paper work filled out – next came the fun task of asking the powers that be to give us the permission to make our plans come true!