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Ainslie Av

Ainslie Av

Future Proofing Your Home Should Be Beautiful as well as Functional That was the challenge I set myself. I didn't want to have to give up my 3 storey townhouse with its great neighbours and inner city lifestyle as I grow older. I also wanted to prove that our neighbourhood could meet today's expectations to be energy efficient smart homes.

I knew Parry Pichelmann and his team and their network of expert trades would be up for this challenge. Why, because back in late 2005, Parry saw through decaying mission brown cabinets and orange laminate of this 1980s townhouse I had recently bought to see its great bones. He helped me transform it then into a beautiful flexible home that still fitted in with the Paddington terrace style neighbourhood but was both stylishly
modern and timeless inside. It has aged very gracefully, so well, that many thought I was mad to do a further renovation, they regarded it as perfect.

Renovating homes is challenging, even more so townhouses as the design needs to be cohesive as you move from open plan ground floor up the stairways to private spaces. And when you want to install a lift in front of the key integrator, the central staircase, it presents very tricky design and structural challenges.

Parry introduced me to Department of Design, Elaina and Jess, who combined flair and practicality designing new spaces and helped me thoughtfully choose materials that created beautiful new spaces but also thoughtfully complemented areas that were not being renovated so it seamlessly flows with no sense of new and old spaces.

I learned in my first renovation with Parry that design does not stop when building starts. Well it does if you don't have a builder who observes keenly how you like to live and listens carefully to what you are trying to achieve and can suggest tweaks and problem solves that help realise your vision.

We had many creative moments that led to better outcomes over the course of the build. The beautiful fluting Phil (Precise Custom Joinery) created for the kitchen island. Literally people walk in and stroke that island! At my request he bravely replicated the fluting as a stunning curving backdrop to showcase the lift on the ground floor making it a feature, not something to be hidden. And the stunning floor 'dress rings" surrounding the circular lift coming to angular points painstakingly crafted in black butt by Parry and his team to mimic the pointed borders of Helen Godden's beautiful quilt hanging opposite the lift on the ground floor.

Such an extensive renovation requires patience, resilience and good humour by all. Particularly patience when you change your mind on something central after the design is completed. In my case I decided the lift needed to be bigger in diameter if it was going to be useful to move stuff as well as people! And patience with the owner moving back in with a cat and a young kitten in the final stages of work.

Instead each new day bro ugh me into contact with more of Parry's team all treating the cats with kindness and good humour and me and my home with friendly respect It also brought in new expert trades each of whom read well the design story we were creating and suggested ideas that added to the design. Andrew ( About Glass )sourced fluted film for the top floor lift tube and glass doors giving much needed privacy for that bedroom without losing light and carrying the fluting theme to the top of the house.

Sam (Weerona Welding) who arrived ready to measure for metal railings for the staircase only to discover we had decided that was too industrial and instead we would install wood slats as a backdrop for the lift on the upper floors. Master craftsman that he is instead he made one of the most remarked upon features the beautiful lizard hand rails that start each flight of stairs.

And Rick master painter (Rick Maier Paint Plus) who brought alive the colour scheme cleverly defining where colour sweeps started and finished so the stair case once again was the integrator and each floor its own colour personality. And his team who cheerfully commented what a nice change it was not to be painting shades of white as they transformed partially lowered ceilings into architectural features and cleverly used quarter and half strength colours to create even colour through lower light spaces. Of all the teams they had the most impressive bush telegraph. They obligingly popped in to do small touch ups or pop another coat on between jobs nearly always managing to arrive as the salted caramel brownies came out of the oven.

Renovating is hard, costly and stressful. However when you are fortunate enough to collaborate with people who care about their craftsmanship and enjoy realising your dreams cost effectively, it can also be fantastically rewarding. My home is now future proofed and leading the way in energy efficiency in my neighbourhood. Every part of it is beautiful and also welcoming ,comfortable and practical. A good friend who ran a very successful renovation business in Sydney recently examined every nook and cranny then declared "Your builder is an artist". I agree but I would say Parry, his team and network of expert contractors are both skilled tradespeople and creative craftspeople.