We couldn’t be more excited to finally share our finished renovation. Over the next few weeks expect detailed posts on each space of the house. First up? The exterior!
After a few sneak peeks over the last couple of weeks (remember the nursery and bedroom?), it’s finally time to share the whole house, room by room in as much detail as my little typing fingers can handle. Excitement is an understatement. Do you remember the before? It’s been hard to hold all the details in while we waited for our feature in Inside Out magazine to come out, but after its release last week it’s time! So without further ado, let’s begin. Today, we’re talking about the exterior/front of the house.
I’m starting with a before and after because, I mean, who doesn’t love to see these things side by side? You’ll remember from our renovation plans post that we had hugggge changes planned for this fixer upper. Some of you wanted us to keep it the same, and in truth I too loved the quaint nature of the original house, but it just wasn’t going to be a place we could live and work in long term. Add to the fact that the house wasn’t cheap (a great location like this is always going to be expensive regardless of the house) and it meant we needed to create some value on the site. So change was in the air! Read on for what we did, and the ‘after’ pictures!
What We Did
Raised the house
One of the biggest things we did with this house was to raise it, which enabled us to keep the gorgeous heritage style home, but also create significantly more space. Essential on a tiny block like this! Raising the house was terrifying/intriguing – they basically jack it up and put blocks under it until they get to the desired height. We then laid a concrete slab for the underneath studio.
Built A Garage
One of the requirements of the site’s Development Application was that raising the house meant it required a two car garage, something that was sad because it changed the house significantly, but there was simply no way around it. Not wanting to overpower the feel of this heritage home with a big dominating garage, we designed it to be an open pagoda style, and made space for garden beds and pots along the edges – planting them with jasmine so that in time it will have a gorgeous leafy feel. I love the idea of using it as another outdoor entertaining space!
Moved the Entry Stairs
Because of the garage requirement, we had to move the entryway from the centre to the side. I wasn’t that happy to have to do this, but we were bound by the council requirements, and in the end I think it looks pretty good and actually turns the front balcony into a more useable space.
Restored the frontage
That heritage frontage hadn’t seen much love in a looooong time. So once the house was raised we worked to completely restore the timber walls, cross bracing and that curved roof. We replaced and upgraded beams and surfaces where needed, but also wanted to keep the texture and grain of the original house.
Built The Front Fence
Ben and I went back and forth a lot on the type of fence we wanted. Instead of choosing a heritage style timber picket fence, we wanted to create something that contrasted a bit with the house, to give it a more unique feel. I was really into the idea of breezeblock, but Ben felt that it’s a style you see everywhere these days and that we should experiment with something different. And he was totally right! He designed a really unique ‘board formed’ concrete fence… Basically we created a fence shaped mould out of timber boards, and the filled it in with concrete. Once the concrete was dry, we removed the boards and voila! A textured concrete wall. We also built garden beds in the front and back so that creepers and plants could grow all over the fence.
Repainted The Exterior
Some of you were all for keeping the green, but we wanted to give it a complete refresh so went with a black and charcoal palette for the house. We used Haymes Paint ‘Minimalist’ and ‘Intimacy’. That said, not wanting to completely modernise to the point where the heritage was hidden/lost, we balanced the new paint job by keeping elements of the house raw – we sanded the original timber floor boards of the veranda back to their original unpainted style, and left the new steps unpainted. I think this really helps to balance the design so it doesn’t feel too ‘done’.
Updated the Door
Ok so we didn’t want the house to be tooooo serious, which can totally happen when you choose a black and white palette, so for the door we wanted to do something different. First, we stripped the paint off – there turned out to be six coats of paint on the original, 1871 door. Crazy! Once we worked our way through green, white, navy blue and the rest, we got down to the original timber door. We considered just leaving it raw like that, but in the end decided to go with something more exciting – a pink arc on the door! This was quite easy to do – we used a pencil and string to draw on a smooth arc, and then painted it with a white undercoat then two coats of Haymes Paint in ‘Humas’. You can see the finished door below. After we painted the door we also replaced the lock and installed a Samsung keyless entry lock.
And without further ado… The exterior of the house! I love just how simple and modern it is, whilst also keeping the heritage character. Working with Ben on this project really showed me that his skill and creativity lies in knowing how to contrast materials and finishes in a way that ensures a space feels both picture perfect but also real and lived in. The contrast of the concrete fence, stripped back floor boards and updated door with the minimalist black and white palette gives it such a great feel.
We went with black hardware at the front of the house – a black doorknob with black lighting. Once again we chose to contrast the heritage feel by using some industrial style lights.
Guys I LOVE this door. We both wanted to do something different and I think this was the perfect icing on the cake for the whole house. And it was so easy to do! I think the contrast of the raw timber door and the fresh pop of pink is (in my opinion) perfect.
The design of the original house with the centred stairway made the front veranda a bit less functional, so when we changed this I was really excited to create a space that could be used for relaxing and evening drinks. The addition of a hanging chair, pouf and some textiles makes it so inviting!
- Haymes Paint in Minimalist (white), Intimacy (grey), Humas (pink)
- Marr-kett Moroccan cushions
- West Elm Textured Blanket
- The Bach Living Hanging Chair
- West Elm Hanging Lanterns
- Ikea Jute Runner
- Bunnings Plant Pot
- Lights from Industville
- Bunnings Vintage Inspired House Numbers
- Bunnings Festoon lights