Diana, an interior decorator and florist, and her husband Ashley, a technical manager, bought this Federation-era weatherboard cottage in March 2000 – when Diana was pregnant with their first son. The couple loved the timber weatherboards and the vibrant, inner-city location. “It’s a bit grungy – we love that!” explains Diana. With the family, now numbering four, rapidly outgrowing the small house, they didn’t want to move. “It would have been heartbreaking to leave the house we loved,” says Diana.
With one year for planning and six months for construction, the brief was to create a two-storey, warehouse-inspired extension influenced by the Cornersmith cafe in Marrickville. The couple enlisted its designer, Cameron Krone of Smith & Carmody, to spearhead their renovation.
The first secret to renovating a 100-year-old house, says Diana, is to appreciate the home’s imperfections. “We loved this house, we bought it for a reason, and just wanted to embrace it for what it was,” she explains. The second secret is to get a good team on board. “Find a designer with a similar aesthetic to your own, then let them run with it. If you love what they do, you just have to let them do it.”
It was important to the couple that the new kitchen had a unique look and feel to it. Cameron answered the brief with raised kitchen joinery designed to look like freestanding furniture. The cabinetry was given a brush-painted finish in Winter Storm by Dulux and Leather handles, handmade by Cameron. The zinc-topped console, designed by Cameron and crafted by Tindall Furniture, is adored by the family.
Jonathan West from Tindall Furniture crafted this elliptical dining table a new walnut tabletop. The vintage dining chairs were given an update in vibrant red leather for a retro-cool vibe.
The extension may be new, but is filled will old-world appeal and upcycled style. Well-loved items like a timber display cabinet and vintage armchair take pride of place in this high-traffic room.
Budget breakdown: kitchen and dining
Console: Custom-made zinc-top console table, from $4150, Tindall
Dining table: Get the look with custom-built walnut table. $5800. Tindall
Joinery: Joinery, including Carrara marble benchtops, from $18.000, TK Design
Pendant: Coolicon ‘Vintage Factory’ pendant in Green, $139* (GBP#76.80), Urban Cottage Industries
Tapware: Olde English kitchen tap in Raw Brass, $710, Astra Walker
Tiles: Ceramic subway tiles in White. from $29/sqm, Olde English Tiles
Windows: Custom-made steel windows from $3900, Skyrange
Custom steel windows by Skyrange were a big investment but Diana believes they were worth it. “That’s my warehouse look!” she says. An elegant vintage chaise lounge makes for a sun-drenched oasis bordering the hub of the home. The construction team painstakingly pulled up the original pine floorboards during the demolition to use in the rebuild.
The pedestal basin and claw-foot bath were both found on ebay. The exposed ‘Olde English’ shower set, from Astra Walker, together with brass tapware, keeps the vintage feel going without sacrificing functionality. ‘Quinta’ ceramic tiles from Academy Tiles lend a handmade quality.
The pedestal basin and claw-foot bath were both found on Ebay, “if you can believe it!” says Diana.
Budget breakdown: bathroom
Basin: For similar, try Napier pedestal basin. $449, Schots Home Emporium
Bath: Get the look with ‘Richmond’ bath (in custom colour), from $2775, Victoria + Albert
Mirror: ‘Grundtal: mirror, $40, Ikea
Tapware: Olde English exposed shower set in Raw Brass. $948, Olde-English basin set in Raw Brass. $278, both Astra Walker
Wall tiles: ‘Quinta’ ceramic tiles, 115/sqm, Academy Tiles
Tucked into a cupboard in the new hallway, where the pantry used to be, the laundry was a life changer, says Diana. Choosing a front-loader made it possible to squeeze in a generous bench, sink and hanging rail. The clever, compact space also makes an excellent wet area for Diana’s work as a florist.
Diana and Ashley were prepared to sacrifice the things they didn’t really need to make the essentials sing. Designer Cameron made the most of the creative liberation by devising bespoke galvanised rails in place of a wardrobe. The couple sourced an lkea dresser to fit below and Diana’s sister Sandra made the linen curtains. “Storage was important,” says Diana. “We wanted to make sure it was significant but characterful as well.”
Budget breakdown: bedroom
Bedhead upholstery: Vintage bed head reupholstering from $600, Maurer and Strange
Curtains: Get the look with ‘Aina’ linen curtains in Natural, $79/pair, Ikea
Dresser: ‘Malm’ dresser, $99, Ikea
Paint: Wash & Wear 101 Barrier Technology in Stowe White, $74.9S/4L, Dulux
Wardrobe: Custom-made hanging system, from $1000, Smith & Carmody
The heritage of the house is carried through to the new second-storey ensuite, thanks to a soulful assortment of salvaged, upcycled and handmade materials. Popham hexagonal floor tiles introduce pattern and colour. The basin was a found object that Cameron tricked up with brass, with the help of Simon Cavanaugh from Macgyver Models.
Budget breakdown: ensuite
Basin: Refurbished basin and brass basin stand, from $1800, Smith & Carmody
Floors: Popham hexagonal tiles in Robin Egg and Summer Sky, $315/sqm, Onsite Supply+ Design
Mirror: ‘Grundtal’ mirror, $40, Ikea
Tapware: Icon+ wall tap set in Raw Brass, $398, Icon+ shower set in Raw Brass, $438, both Astra Walker
Walls: Try ‘Fresco’ in Alabears. $47.30/lkg, ‘Stucco Wax’, $56.20/850g, both Porters Paints
The old kitchen, dining room, bathroom and outdoor laundry were demolished and a double-storey extension was built in their place. A new kitchen, dining area and bathroom were built downstairs along with a study, bedroom and ensuite constructed upstairs. The small house is now a spacious three-bedroom, two-bathroom house filled with recycled materials.
The bench seat on the reworked deck is a sentimental treasure from the house in which Diana grew up. Her father restored one bench for Diana and one for each of her three sisters.
Budget breakdown: deck and facade
Cushions: ‘Durrmu’- linen cushion, $259, ‘Lots’ silk cushion in Blue, $139, both Koskela
Exterior paint: Weathershield in Natural White, $74.95/4L, Weathershield in Vivid White, $74.95/4L, both Dulux
Plants: Try star jasmine, from $11 each, rubber tree, from $8.50 each, cymbidium orchid, from $9 each, all Bunnings
When Diana and Ashley pulled off the layers of fibro that enclosed their front verandah they weren’t expecting to find the original facade in such good condition. “That was a big moment!” says Diana. “It felt like the house kept giving back to us throughout the whole process.” Dulux Weathershield in Natural White was used on the weatherboards and Vivid White on the trim to bring the facade back to its best.