Luxury Home Renovation and Extension of a Camberwell Classic
Lifestyle By Design’s Toorak Road, Heritage Home Extension in Melbourne is one of our proudest achievements.
A 1920’s Californian Bungalow, neglected, over-ridden with a façade of ivy, and long overdue for some love, has finally undergone some incredible restoration and extension works, complete with a front garden make-over, and in-built options for adding new cabinetry and outdoor facilities in the future – and she’s consequently sprung back into life again!
This historic home had the most amazing potential, but the owners knew it was not going to be a simple fix. They came to us with a generous budget, exhaustive plans to keep the look of ages, but also wanted to add a hidden two storey back section, and a glorious new backyard. LBD rose to the challenge with gusto, because we knew this one was special, and we worked closely with DE. Arch who were the Architects based in Port Melbourne.
The plan was to retain and restore the home’s period features and stay true to its original street characteristics. It had mouldy and cracked stucco rendered bricks, sagging fretwork sections, rotting eaves and an entry staircase that needed a solid dose of acid wash. It was a yesteryear diamond with a lot of rough stuff, but it was begging for someone to see with their emotional foresight, and believe in our LBD passion for quality work that could transform the beast into a multi-million dollar beauty. And we think we did just that!
Let’s start at the beginning… The front garden is now fenced with a secure and solid brick pillar structure, and there’s room for off-street parking, behind the electronic gates. The old fretwork, shingles and render were all lovingly replaced and restored, and the steps now have that old red brick charm again.
Beyond the period front wall, the entire ground floor was virtually demolished, aside from the walls of the two original front rooms.
When you step inside now, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were still in a home from the twenties. We replaced all the original sash windows with replicas, and also removed the classic wall paneling. The lovely old panel-effect was underscored with new plaster, and we then re-created it with new materials. The soaring three metre plus ceilings, and wide hallway give the luxurious sense of space, and a special plaster ceiling feature reproduced and installed, so that history repeated itself – without the devastating effects of aging matter.
The front living room had two leadlight windows in rotting frames, so we carfully removed the leadlight and had them reinstated into new frames, and the brick fireplace was kept as a functioning stone feature as well. There’s a gorgeous new window box surrounding the bay window, and extra storage below the cushions – and not to mention the removable floor section for future cellar that is concealed beneath the carpet. The front master bedroom gained a superb walk-in robe and an ensuite with a double shower, and custom cabinetry, resplendent in natural light. And then we moved to the end of the hallway and installed a broad, zone separating, full height sliding solid wood door with concealed ceiling track – the door to the future.
Opened wide, the door reveals an expansive and contemporary dwelling at the rear, with every modern amenity, to complement the optimum in family living and entertainment ease. There are new, double-glazed aluminium windows (in commercial sizes), and a kitchen with butler’s pantry, an extensive family/dining/living room, and servery doors that open onto the sheltered alfresco. To maximise the open-air feeling of the backyard, the alfresco ceiling is supported by a nine-metre-long counter-levered steel beam, to avoid the need for any support columns. The rear footings were also sunk to a depth of four and a half metres to allow for the eventual installation of a swimming pool. No expense was spared in planning for the future (as funds allow), to expand on the family-friendly features of this once dilapidated home.
Underfloor, we anticipated re-stumping initially, but encountered significant and unexpected issues with a water table that created the potential for extraordinary delays in completing the project on schedule. With our thinking hats on, we were able to rectify the problem and give an honest appraisal of what needed to be done. This necessitated the whole slab having to be re-engineered, and it could have been disastrous had we not found the right answers. But, with perseverance, very understanding owners, and a solid relationship between us that was deeply based on trust, it was quickly rectified.
Lifestyle By Design specialises in taking the greatest care in giving advice where it’s needed, and in providing customised service second-to-none, making this Extension and Renovation project a perfect fit. The ultimate home for family living now also features five bedrooms, a study, mud room, an architecturally designed steel with timber clad floating staircase (with a soaring skylight overhead), softly closing custom cabinetry, a double oven, integrated fridge and other Siemens appliances – and designated and prepared spaces for future retaining walls, a pool and a garage – with enough on either side of the home to retain privacy, and rear access in the years to come. There’s now fresh, new decorative cornices, new architraves and skirting boards, engineered floorboards, and we even installed their surround sound system and security devices.
“LBD have built our dream home, weeks ahead of schedule, and in a way that has, by far, surpassed our brief. Their level of perfectionism, acute attention to detail, and outstanding communication skills have all been deeply appreciated. Throughout the entire project they have been incredibly transparent, and they have continually guided us with ideas to keep the build cost-effective and on budget. They also went above-and-beyond when a situation arose creating unexpected sub-floor issues (that had not been previously identified in the architectural design phase).
We’ve found LBD to be extremely efficient in all respects, and particularly in the way they have accommodated our changes along the way, and given us professional advice (based on their exceptional knowledge and building experience) when some of those changes would have been unwise. Brad and Nick have been very personable and prompt in all things, and always mindful of what we wanted to achieve. For example, their impeccable standards were most apparent as they went about respectfully restoring the period features of our 1927 home – both inside and out. Near enough was never good enough to them – achieving excellence was their mandate the entire time, and that, coupled with their collaborative approach with us (as the owners) gave us tremendous peace of mind.
We fell in love with our home because of its definitive heritage beauty. We knew it’s genuine majesty wouldn’t be easy to restore, whilst blending a contemporary renovation and extension behind the façade – but we certainly made the right decision by placing our trust in Lifestyle By Design to make our dream come true. We’re ecstatic about the end result, and also the untold levels of professionalism we received from LBD at all times.”
Adam, Owner (2017)
In the beginning, there was twenty square of history, and now there’s 50+ square of future living, within a home that has been designed around a growing family’s lifestyle. It truly is a Lifestyle By Design home.
There were certainly a few unique challenges along the way, and especially with the original sloping nature of the block, but our experience and knowledge in Home Renovations and Extensions has already successfully taken us down those roads many times before.
This high-end, Home Regeneration had a contract value of around $630,000 with the owner opting to supply and organised cabinetry, air-conditions, plumbing fixtures and light fixtures although LBD carried out the quality assurance checks for the owner’s items. The result is now something to behold as an iconic piece of architecture, in one of Melbourne’s most premium, sought-after suburbs.
Take a sneak peek at the before and after photos. The transformation of this Camberwell classic is astonishing – and whilst we have a bit of prejudice, we feel we’re entitled to feel an enormous sense of pride in a job well done!
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but to exceed them wherever possible, and in every respect. And quality is not only our vision – it’s our promise!
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