Diary of a renovation

Over the next few months, we’ll be doing something a little different, by following a renovation of a 1950’s house in Sydney’s Castlecrag all the way through.

We’ve known the clients Andrew and Wendy for more than 10 years; they’d contacted us a couple of years after they’d moved into a house in nearby Middle Cove. We were called in to advise them on whether to renovate or to sell up, as they’d never intended to live in the house for any great length of time. We knew it was worth renovating, and they’d still be there if, eight years after we’d finished, they hadn’t spotted the ‘For Sale’ sign in Castlecrag.

“We had a look, and the setting was magical, down a little laneway and not really overlooked by other houses,” says Wendy.

She describes the single-storey house, with its sweeping veranda looking out to the water, as “cute and quirky” but with only two bedrooms and a study, not big enough for them and their two teenage children. “We knew it needed renovating, plus we thought the house would be outside our price range, so basically forgot about it,” she says.

Andrew went along to the auction on a whim, and, somehow or other, made the winning bid. We were again called in – either to tell them they’d made a terrible mistake or to renovate. They hadn’t made a terrible mistake.

One thought was that maybe they’d stay where they were, rent the house out and eventually move in after the kids left home. “But if we waited until they moved out, it would never be a family home,” says Wendy. “By doing it with them, we can all be on the adventure together.”