This picture perfect cottage in the outer Sydney suburb of Baulkham Hills is the fifth property to receive a revamp from Three Birds Renovations, who’ve turned transforming tired suburban dwellings into desirable family homes into an art form.
Firm friends for almost two decades Bonnie Hindmarsh, Erin Cayless and Lana Taylor teamed up in 2014 and have successfully renovated a clutch of houses in Sydney’s west.
The project represents the Birds’ first foray into fibro. A former rental property in good repair, the three bedroom, one-bathroom cottage has been renovated and extended to become a four bedroom, two bathroom home with two living spaces.
“We hadn’t done a house quite like this before; we’ve always done brick renovations,” Taylor says.
“This was a fibro cottage, well-kept but small and dated, which we reconstructed and remade using Scyon™ Linea™ weatherboard.
“The cottage has a real charm of its own –high ceilings, picture rails, a beautiful front porch – which was part of its appeal for us. The bones and the shape were already there and we just updated the materials and the colours outside.”
Internally the home was also ripe for a make-over.
“The kitchen was in the middle of the house in its own little room, not connected to anything,” Taylor says. “There was no real open space anywhere in the house and the laundry was external, with old cement troughs.
“We’ve opened everything up and converted the original garage, which was on a lower level, into a fourth bedroom and second living room, so the home is now split level and great for entertaining.
“We also did a small extension out the back to expand the living space. We vertically clad that in Scyon Stria™ cladding, painted dark charcoal. The contrast of the modern and old, traditional features is just stunning.”
Scyon Linea weatherboard cladding gives this cottage a classic look but is far more durable and moisture resistant than traditional weatherboard.
Opening up the outdoors
Outside, the property was typical of its era, with an oversized backyard, featuring the iconic Hills Hoist clothes line and ample room for the addition of an expansive outdoor entertainment area.
“The house just sort of ended and then there was a huge stretch of lawn so we used some of that space to build a two-tiered HardieDeck™,” Taylor says.
A seamless link between indoor and outdoor living spaces and the heart of today’s modern Australian home, the alfresco deck is a hallmark of all the Three Birds’ projects; a place where family can congregate, relax and entertain.
“This HardieDeck is particularly special because you can come out onto it from the house at any level – it was important to us that it be as accessible as possible,” Taylor says.
Creating a statement with strong horizontal lines, this two-tiered deck creates provides an outdoor space for both relaxing and entertaining.
Termite and moisture resistant, splinter free and permissible in high bushfire zones, HardieDeck is a durable timber alternative which doesn’t rot or require regular maintenance.
The HardieDeck boards are installed with a joining system which conceals the screws and can be laid with fewer joists than a traditional timber deck, resulting in a saving on materials and labour. HardieDeck offers greater facility to colour match than traditional timber and can be painted in any shade.
HardieDeck boards were also used to create the external steps which link the deck’s two tiers.
“The HardieDeck work really well for stairs and the black capping around the edge made it a great feature at this property,” Taylor says.
“We’ve used a lot of vertical and horizontal lines in the overall house design and the HardieDeck style feeds into that beautifully. It definitely stands out as a design feature at the back of the house. You don’t usually expect that from a deck.”
The alfresco space is a winner with the young couple who are preparing to call the cottage home, following its sale in October 2016. The success of the project has cemented HardieDeck as the Three Birds’ number one decking choice, as they embark on their next transformation challenge.
“It’s a hard-wearing, low maintenance new breed of decking material which gives a great result,” Taylor says.