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2018 Award winning Leichhardt renovation

Winner of the 2018 Master Builders Association NSW Excellence in Housing Awards for House additions/alternations/renovations in the $1m to $1.2m category. Click here for more details.

This Project was definitely something special and different right from the start. The most interesting and challenging aspect being that the clients lived overseas during the whole project and had never even meet the builder face to face. All the communication from tendering, signing of contracts to the weekly site meetings with the architect and builder were conducted over Skype or email. Genuine Building Services was handpicked by the architect for this project due to these circumstances as they had worked together on 12 other projects. The first time the builder met the client face to face was the day the house was handed over to them as a completed project. Being involved in this process was truly amazing. The trust the clients put in Genuine Building Services and their architect, Andrew Burns, was amazing 

This existing Federation brick cottage had survived the years relatively in its existing form bar a few minor renovations to the rear. The clients had purchased the property several years beforehand prior to having children and then had to relocate overseas for work. The design brief given to the architect was to keep the existing character and charm of the cottage from the front and then to create a light, open plan house that accommodated their now family of 3 children so that they could move back to Australia to live.
The project required demolition of the rear existing sections of the house with the retention and restoration of the existing cottage facade. Although not being heritage listed, it was important to the clients that the street scape of the existing cottage and its charm was maintained. The new ground floor area would become an open plan living, dining and kitchen across three split levels leading onto an alfresco and rear secluded garden with privacy from the neighbors in close proximately. Upstairs there are four new bedrooms with the master bedroom having a large walk-in robe and ensuite looking over the rear garden with louvered timber opening screens for privacy.

There were several construction challenges in relation to this project. The design of the house was quite complex as the site was a sloping site with no access to the rear except through the front door. The front facade was left intact and a complete demolition of the existing rear of the house was done to achieve the design of hiding the rear extension from the street. There was also extensive excavation to the existing foot print of the house so the three split levels on the ground floor could take you from the street entry down to the rear yard whilst feeling you were not actually moving through different levels. To achieve this, Genuine Building Services maneuvered a small excavator through the front door and used motorised dumpers to carry out the excavated material (including rock) into their waiting truck.

During the excavation, the clients had decided that they would like to try to keep and relocate an extremely large Frangipani tree located right beside the footings on the new extension. The clients loved this tree and wanted to relocate it into their new rear garden. The problem was that the neighbor’s house was an existing weatherboard house on sandstone stumps so there was no way of excavating the root ball of this tree to relocate it. Instead, Genuine Building Services cut two extremely large sections of this tree off and replanted them in two different locations in the garden and kept them alive for the duration of the project. These two new frangipani trees are now larger than most established Frangipani trees you would normally see.

Once the Excavation was completed, a very complex concrete slab needed to be constructed with large drop edge beams, concrete stairs and upturns requiring to be formed up on a rock substrate. The neighboring house was very close on both sides that made bracing and construction of the formwork very tricky. Genuine Building Services overcame this by getting in and carrying out all the formwork and steel installation themselves so the fine details, tight formwork and construction difficulties could be managed.

The structural steel beams and timber framing was the next challenge for the Builder. The structural steel beams and posts was a very complicated design because in addition to the downstairs split level, the first floor was split across two levels and the new building needed to hide in behind the existing cottage front façade. Genuine Building Services overcame this difficulty of the structural steel design by hand, drawing a 3D structural drawing fully specified with all measurements and dimensions for the steel contractor to follow. This allowed for a complex structural steel design to be installed in a single day. The timber framing with all the different levels, beams and tricky steep pitched roofs was a challenge and having one carpenter (the builder) and three apprentices was very exciting for all involved to construct and learn on.

Once the project was out of the ground and the structure was completed, it was then a matter of achieving the architect’s fine details and design concepts inside. The American Oak timber flooring was laid across the whole ground floor, the split level stairs and the first floor stairs. This was defiantly a highlight and enjoyable part of the project for us as carpenters which really sets off the project. The lining board rear alfresco and first floor ceilings was another carpentry highlight that we all really enjoyed along with some interesting pivot door details.

Front of the house
Living room
inside/outside living
Upstairs windows
Living room
Dining area
Master bedroom
Master bedroom window seat
Children's bedroom
TV area
Dining area
Back deck
Living area
Dormer window