Part One: George & Tenielle's First Home Renovation [Rehashed]

By George Skentzos,Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Part One: George & Tenielle's First Home Renovation [Rehashed]

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As first home buyers in the booming Sydney housing market, it quickly became clear that finding a home which we could afford with all the contemporary design features we loved just wasn't going to happen, so buying a "renovator" became more of an inevitability rather than a choice.

George Skentzos

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After almost a year of searching, my wife Tenielle and I finally found a home we could call our own with all the right elements to create an affordable yet modern home ideal for entertaining and open plan living.

 

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An obsessive habit of mine was to take the floor plan of the real estate listing and try to create a modern layout in Photoshop, so before we'd even signed on the dotted line we already had a solid idea of what we wanted to achieve with this renovation. The main criteria was to have a modern open-plan living area, with seamless access to an outdoor entertaining area - and a new Caesarstone kitchen of course!

 

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The home was originally a modest three-bedroom residence built in the 1950s with an extension added sometime in the 1960s which included a new kitchen and small fourth bedroom / study.

Our very first job to make the house a bit more "homely" was to transform the bedroom in preparation for the long haul of living in a construction site. We ripped up the carpet to reveal polished timber floors, painted the walls and wardrobe trim in a more modern colour and added some new furniture. 

 

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With that first bit of renovating done the real work could begin! With the help of our builder, the first job to tackle was opening up the access from the front to rear of the home which could only be accessed through one of two narrow doorways at opposite ends of the room. A nib wall inconveniently close to the doorway meant walking to the back of the home followed an S-shaped path which made the area feel dark and cramped. So both doorways had to go in favor of one large opening.

 

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The blue tape lines on the floor were laid down about a week ahead of construction so we could visualise where the final doorway would be. We wanted it to be small enough to still separate the front and back living areas, and positioned in a way that the front living area could be transformed into a bedroom in future if necessary.

 

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By this point, we were in two minds about removing the entire wall altogether to have one large open plan living area the entire length of the house, but decided that two separate living areas would be more practical in the long term.

 

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Opening up the doorway and removing the nib wall immediately made the home feel much larger and more open, and we also managed to sneak in a bigger hallway closet as a bonus!

 

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With the new doorway in place, we now had a direct line of sight from the front to the back of the house. It might be bad "feng shui" but it creates quite an amazing first impression when people walk through the door expecting to see something much smaller.

 

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With the home sitting on a block with a gentle slope, the back extension part of the home included a small step in the centre of the room with a balustrade either side. We decided to extend the step the entire way across the room which turned out to be quite a simple job thanks to a conveniently located floor joist!
 

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Obviously, the previous owners had outgrown the home which is why a fourth bedroom was awkwardly incorporated next to the kitchen. Our plan was to clear the entire back section of the house including the bedroom, kitchen and a built-in pantry then install two big bi-fold doors which would open up onto the backyard and eventually a large deck area for outdoor entertaining.

 

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We measured up the new bi-fold doors and after about a month they arrived then it would be a frustrating week of waiting before they could be installed! 

 

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We did what we could to prepare the area as much as possible by removing plasterboard from the walls and ceiling, then it took three builders just one day to demolish the rest of the area ready for the new structural beams and bi-fold doors.

 

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The back of the home gets beautiful sunlight in the morning, and believe it or not the yard was so overgrown when we bought it that you couldn't even see the back fence!

 

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With the structure in place, we could see our dream come to life for the first time. The big openings for the bi-fold doors completely transformed the look and feel of the home from a cramped space to the beginnings of a modern family entertainer!

 

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Discover More of George & Tenielle:

Instagram: @tenielle.george

 

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After an unsettling night's sleep with the entire back of our home exposed to the elements, the bifold doors were installed the next day. We opted for a gloss white finish with an insulated glass coating to help keep the home cool in summer.

 

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It was a bit of a painful task replacing the external aluminium weatherboard cladding but after a bit of work it by sunset it looked as good as new! 

 

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With the major structural work now complete, we could move on to the interior and begin turning the home from the construction site we had come to know over the past few months back into a real home.

We definitely weren't afraid to get our hands dirty so the next job to tackle was hanging the new plasterboard on the walls and ceilings - about forty sheets all up. If you need proof that we are first time renovators, this is it! The plasterer was mortified when he saw our plasterboarding efforts! As we would find out, the norm is to use as large sheets as possible to minimise joins, but we just went for the standard 2400 x 1200 sheets. So whereas a proper plastering job might have half a dozen or so butt joints, our job had more like 30!

 

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Nevertheless the only repercussion seems to have been more work for our plasterer, otherwise the job is flawless!

 

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We chose the standard Dulux Vivid White for the walls to create a bright blank canvas for what would become the main living area of our home. 

With most of the internal work done it meant we were ready for the kitchen! But that all comes in Part Two of our renovation!

 

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Discover More of George & Tenielle:

Instagram: @tenielle.george
 

Discover Part 2 of George & Tenielle's Renovation

Discover Part 3 of George & Tenielle's Renovation

Comments on "Part One: George & Tenielle's First Home Renovation [Rehashed]"

  • Louise & Marc

    Louise & Marc
    January 28, 2015
    10:03 PM

    Looking fantastic guys! Can't wait to read the next update and eventually see the finished result.

  • Kitchen Craftsmen

    Kitchen Craftsmen
    February 03, 2015
    4:34 PM

    Hey George & Tenielle, wow, this really is fantastic - the team at Kitchen Craftsmen in WA are watching with interest... We can't wait to see what you guys do with the kitchen! :)

  • Kitchen Craftsmen

    Kitchen Craftsmen
    February 04, 2015
    2:13 PM

    Hey George & Tenielle, wow, this really is fantastic - the team at Kitchen Craftsmen in WA are watching with interest... We can't wait to see what you guys do with the kitchen! :)

  • Jeferson

    Jeferson
    November 27, 2015
    9:02 AM

    Ashley you should be so proud of youlserf; your place looks amazing! You're managing to balance design & trend with pure home-iness.Can't wait for you to help me do a place for the Seaborns .

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