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before and after renovation / fibro bungalow transformed into family home

We all love a before and after shoot so it’s with delight I present this mega-renovation by Michelle Walker, Director of Michelle Walker Architects.

Michelle recently took on the challenge of transforming her very own Manly Vale post-war fibro bungalow into a modern five bedroom family home. In her practice, Michelle works on contemporary architectural projects for her Sydney clients, particularly in heritage conservation areas, with projects including the Butterfly House in Paddington which was a finalist in the 2013 Dulux Colour Awards and a winner in the 2013 Best of Houzz awards and The Roseville Pavilion.

Michelle says it was exciting to transform her own home for a change, having the final say on every element of the design.

Backing onto bushland, the newly renovated home is inspired by the materials of Australian rural buildings and its natural setting, with a focus on outdoor spaces for the family to enjoy. 

The property has a northern aspect along its full length, filling it with natural light and sunshine. Michelle extended the already open and bright home by designing a new covered outdoor room spanning 25 square metres, complete with operable sliding and bifold aluminium louvred panels to block the western sun. Spotted gum decking flows from the outdoor room to the edge of the refurbished pool area which is separated by frameless glass pool fencing.

The external works also included a pool renovation and a new poolside entertaining area, paved in almond granite, with a covered outdoor barbeque space and 12 square metres of outdoor storage for surfboards, bikes, bins and pool toys and accessories.

Michelle updated the front of the house, with a new driveway and connected carport, providing undercover sheltered access to the house. A new front door and front porch, with a similar roof design to the outdoor room, completed the overhaul of the home.

Michelle has combined traditional and contemporary elements in the renovation, introducing a bold new external colour scheme. Colourbond’s ‘Monument’ was used as the main new house colour, contrasted with splashes of bright white and feature orange to mark the front door and chimney. The colours of the house highlight the palette of natural building materials including recycled sandstone, almond granite, natural timber, painted steel, corrugated Colourbond roofing and weatherboards.

This theme has been applied consistently throughout the entire house, inside and out, with Michelle using colour placement and composition to emphasise architectural character on all of her projects.

Consideration of bush fire zoning and harsh environmental conditions played an important role in Michelle’s decision to use particular materials. All external materials are non-flammable, including expressed Australian hardwoods (mostly spotted gum), fibre cement weatherboards and lining boards, sandstone blocks and pavers, almond granite and textured washed back concrete with blue metal aggregate. A new roof with the edge of the material exposed has also replaced the existing older tiled roof.

Internal renovations included a new kitchen, an additional children’s bedroom and a living room makeover including a new Jetmaster fireplace and surround, and new bookshelves. New large new sliding doors were also installed to create better connections with the garden, pool, views to the bush and the outdoor areas.

The kitchen was relocated to a new position within the house, replacing the existing family room. It now connects directly with the outdoor room and pool area, and provides views overlooking the pool, back yard and bush. The kitchen has a large, open plan that is functional and can accommodate a large family as well as guests. The space is designed as a single-line galley kitchen, furnished with two white aluminium tables from Australian company, Aero Designs. The tables interconnect and can be extended to seat eight, with one at bench height and the other at dining table height.

Materials and colours used externally have been continued throughout the kitchen with the addition of a new mirrored splashback behind the benchtop to open up the space and reflect the outdoor greenery and pool.

Now for the fun part – let’s take a look!


Before1 Before2


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Images supplied by Michelle Walker Architects.

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