They say a challenge in life is good.
For some people its running a marathon (or half, or even 5km…no judgies!), for others its going on a strict diet, or taking up a new hobby. For others still, it’s just surviving through the week.
My challenge came one cold wintery and rainy day a few months ago. One of my all-time favourite client’s brother asked if I was busy and if I could assist with a renovation he’s doing? At the time I was spinning (the work kind, not the gym kind), but I offered to come have a look and see if I could assist.
Now if truth be told I have no idea if it was actually raining that day, it was more to set the scene, but what I can tell you is I arrived on site to find….well, nothing. Granted it was a structure in so much as it had a floor, walls and a roof, but that was it….a basic shell but with one hell of a vision behind it.
“Yes”, I said with glee…”I’ll do it!”
Coming back to site a 2nd time was when the harsh reality of what I had gotten into set in, and I realised this was less of a renovation and more of a new build. With all challenges in life you have good and bad moments, you learn some lessons along the way (sometimes the hard way) and you surround yourself with a good solid team, and this was no exception. I work with an exceptional inner core of contractors who are willing to go the extra mile, who give guidance, and problem solve constantly. In this line of work you need to be willing to have curve balls thrown constantly, and I like working with people that can adapt easily, and are well…nice.
What made this project hugely inspiring was that every element needed to be different, exceptional, unique. Off the shelf options weren’t going to make the grade. We sourced antique doors from India, brass antique handles for the doors, powder coated de-chromed taps and fittings for the bathroom in black, refurbed barn doors as dressing room doors, bespoke towel rails in the bathrooms, custom made a bespoke shower cubicle, sourced and refurbed bathroom vanities, and created beautiful unique elements with sourced pieces of wood and the original old floorboards.
The client is a generous hearted man with a wild passion for fishing (how ever did you guess?) and he made the project that more enjoyable, as everyone on site wanted this house to be special for him. It’s fun to push the boundaries and create something truly unique, with much of this build being navigated along the way. Many of the elements we did were labours of love, but the end result made it that much more worthwhile. Honesty, seeing my Indian door get installed was a great day.
With any challenge, when you overcome it, there’s an immense sense of pride for coming out the other end. Truth be told I actually had a teary moment when I finally chased all contractors off site and could walk around the finished space quietly to take it all in.
And so, some 14 weeks down the road and 3 000 000 voice notes, 2 000 emails, and a few million lists later, we have the client moved in. Snagging is gloriously underway and we commence phase two next week – the unique fishpond entrance and landscaping of the property. Sigh. A bigger challenge than the first.
Watch this space, it’s bound to be exciting.
Transform a 3 bedroom built shell into a dream home fit for one cool dude and his queen, his #oneofafind skateboards, fishing paraphernalia and his puppy dog Joe.
BEFORE: The beginning days
The transformation: in 14 weeks
- Complete renovation of the space starting with screeding, plastering and skimming, installing windows and doors, finishing off brickwork, waterproofing, extraction, tiling and new fitout of bathroom, electrics, plumbing, wifi and alarm, landscaping, fireplace, balustrades, decking, installing, sanding and sealing of floors…and all the other bits along the way that make a house a home.
- Building a mezzanine level in 2nd bedroom
- Design elements:
- Feature and accent lighting
- Paint colours
- Bathroom fittings
- Bathroom tiles
- Décor and furniture
DURING: The journey
Daily there were many but hands down, the one that haunts me the the most (besides the imminent fishpond), was getting the screeded floor downstairs right. We ended up re-doing the floor 3 times, because someone kept walking on it before it was sealed, and even ended up having cretestone sprayed all over one section as one of our skimmers fell off a ladder (yes, he was fine, but the floor was not!)
AFTER: These pics were taken on the day the client was moving in, so we will do a follow up shoot soon soon.