A Federation home is loved for its ramshackle and child-friendly appeal.
Often it’s a small, charming feature in a house for sale that proves the selling point for prospective buyers. For Tim Leveson and Libby Knott it was the stable doors, which lead from the laundry to the garden in this Federation home in Sydney’s Inner West, that helped sealed the deal last year. “These doors were one of the things we fell in love with – you just don’t see them very often in city homes,” Tim says.
Holiday house like where wood is used through the house
The couple – and their young family, toddler Sunday and baby Harper on the way – were also attracted to the holiday-house feel of the property. Tim attributes this atmosphere to the use of wood throughout the home. “It was built in 1917 by a local boat builder using local timbers,” he explains. “It’s a bit like an old fishing shack – in fact, it feels like it should have a jetty out the front, not a footpath!”
Fresh the three bedroom house up
The three-bedroom house had a definite charm, but still required a lot of work before the family could move in. “It was in a pretty bad state,” Tim says. “There were no gutters, so a new roof and gutters were imperative.” It was also necessary to freshen it up with a comprehensive paint job. The interior was painted in Dulux half-strength Baker’s White, and the exterior in Woodland Grey, with trims in Surfmist.
Fresh the home with painting
Built-ins were installed in two bedrooms, and the raw pine floorboards throughout the house were scrubbed with steel wool and methylated spirits. “We haven’t varnished or painted them so they have the most gorgeous aged look and feel,” Tim explains. “They’re soft underfoot and require little attention [see page 99].”
Kitchen and Bathroom
The kitchen, bathroom and laundry were tweaked around the edges, with plans to renovate these down the track. “For the moment we really do enjoy the house’s ramshackle and child-friendly appeal,” Tim says. “We’re not too precious about it – we constantly have neighbourhood kids running around so it’s perfect as it is.”
kitchen and bathroom are fully renovated
Tim, an interior designer and furniture maker designed by 10makers, and Libby, an art consultant, dealer and curator, have brought their professional touch and artistic aesthetic to the decorating – the interior is a glorious mix of warm colours, textures, and modern and bespoke pieces. “We like clean lines in the furnishings, yet we also surround ourselves with interesting, warm and comfortable items like recliner chair,” Tim says. The couple love vintage pieces, but are choosy. “The vintage look can be overdone so we try not to go overboard, and try to mix things up with newer items,” Tim explains. Many of their pieces are family heirlooms, as well as market, holiday mementoes and second-hand finds. “We really pride ourselves on making interiors work without spending too much money – importance is placed on found and reused items,” Tim reveals.
Comfortable furniture item like sofas and recliners from 10makers are preferred
But the couple have splurged on artworks, which feature throughout the home. Each piece tells a story, with two paintings marking the birth of their children, and others, gifts from artists. “For us, artwork is very important in any home,” Tim says. In this welcoming, creative family space, home is definitely where the heart – and the art – is.
Rebecca and Tim Udvary’s last home was stark and minimalist, so when they purchased this house, in Melbourne’s Elsternwick, they looked for something different. “We wanted a warmer house that was a bit softer with a lot more colour and comfortable furniture,” says Rebecca, a professional cook. The interior would still be strong on design and selecting good pieces of furniture, but with two young children already and a baby on the way, a little more practical this time around.
Desire for a warmer house with woody furniture set
Characteristics of The House To be Renovated
The property was bought four years ago prior to auction. There were three houses in the same street all for sale at the same time, but the couple wanted this one for several reasons: it was the only brick house with old woody table and chair set; it was on a corner block; and the other homes were already renovated. “We would be paying a premium for a house that was not our style,” Rebecca says. So they put in a few bids before the auction and managed to secure it as their home – and second renovation project.
The Old Brick House
The previous owner was an old lady who had done a lot of “renovating” herself. So while the house wasn’t in great condition, it was sound. The couple enlisted Melbourne-based architect Clare Cousins to draw up plans to knock down the back part of the property. They painted and polished the floorboards in the entry and hall and plan to renovate an area that will become their ensuite, a study for Tim (who’s an engineer) and the original kitchen that’s currently used as a laundry.
How The House is Renovated!
The renovations were relatively painless as the couple knew what to expect and also spent more time planning this time. They also used the same builder as they did for their previous renovation, which was a fortuitous decision. “He pulled out all the stops to have the house finished before Christmas so we could move in before Woody [their now two-year-old son] was born,” Rebecca explains. As a result the work was completed in just five months.
The budget had the biggest impact on the design process. “We had planned for a second storey that would house three children’s bedrooms, a playroom and a bathroom, but the budget meant we kept everything on one level,” Rebecca says. “I think that this made for a better and tighter design.”
The house is planned to be renovated and extended to a Two storey house with rooms for kids
The couple aren’t in any hurry to commence the rest of the renovations as the house is still very liveable. “We plan to stay here for a few more years at least, but never say never,” Rebecca laughs.
WELCOME to our final installment in our coverage of Channel Nine’s 2010 series of The Block. It’s been a bumpy ride for the hard-working contestants but a lot of fun for us!
Check out the show’s info-packed website at www.ninemsn.com.au/theblock. There you’ll find comprehensive breakdowns of furniture and materials used, renovating tips, plus weekly blog commentary by real living editor Deb Bibby and interior designer Jason Sullivan. You can also watch the episodes again. And if you’re up for it, why not apply to be on the 2011 show. We dare you!
Easy Living Rooms with Sofa Chairs
TV shefl is arranged tidy in the living room, from a distance with sofas and glass table
EASY LIVING “This side of the room is my favourite in the whole apartment,” Chez says. It’s not hard to see why. The space feels open and generous, modern and classic. It’s a south-facing room so Chez and Brenton were wise to keep the colour scheme light and bright. The floor offers loads of character and the choice of rug and the furniture match it very well. Placing the TV on floating marble shelving near sofas and a glass table looks tidy, and if the person who buys the apartment wants to use the shelves for another use they will still look great.
FAMILY FRIENDLY Living Room
Leather sofas and recliners with flat armrests for resting drinks, creating a relaxing space for all family members at home
Neisha and John have been clever in desiging their living room – it works equally well as a place for conversation (since the recliners and the leather sofas face each other and have practical flat armrests for resting drinks), and for watching TV (the screen’s to the left). The night before the room reveal was the first in months that John had access to a working TV. “He couldn’t stop watching it and wouldn’t do any work!” Neisha says. It was actually Chez and Brenton’s visiting tradie Hicky (whom they flew down from Queensland and who got that couple into trouble by sleeping over) who built John and Neisha’s deck, from merbau timber.
ELEGANT Style for Interior
ELEGANTLY DONE As with all of Erin and Jake’s rooms there’s a confident dose of New York glam in this, their second-last project. It’s spacious, free-flowing and functional. Erin’s use of subdued colour, pattern and texture is delightfully easy on the eye. “I love vintage prints, like damask and flocked fabric, especially for sofa chairs” she says. And remember, there are views of Sydney Harbour from the balcony (to the right of this image). That should be a big selling point.
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