Stage 1 - Introduction
We bought an old home at 44 Essex Street in Wembley, so we could give it the Dale Alcock Home Improvement treatment, and give you a bird’s-eye view of the entire process.
The brief? To extend and modernise the home, while maintaining its original character and personality. Specifically, we’re converting it from a 2x1 into a 4x2 + study. Plus we’re giving it a new kitchen, a large open plan living area and a beautiful alfresco area.
Construction started in August, and the home was completely finished in February 2012.
Any builder can renovate a home. But renovating one that’s been in the same family for 70 years, with a sentimental history and original heritage styling? That’s another matter entirely...
Graeme, now 70, smiles wistfully as he recalls the childhood he spent at 44 Essex Street, Wembley. Seven decades later, over a cup of tea in the living room of the self-same home, he tells us how he grew up there with his parents, how he moved out to start his own family, and how he eventually moved back to care for his ailing mum.
Naturally, we wanted to retain a sense of that history in the home. To remain true to the original 1930s fixtures, fittings and floor coverings. Like the light fitting in the living room that was a wedding gift to Graeme’s parents. And the grandfather clock that Graeme’s grandfather actually made. (Yes, really!)
And you should have seen Graeme’s face light up when we told him. “It’s nice to know the family home will remain,” he said. “I’m sad enough to let the place go; I’d be devastated to see my whole family’s history demolished. Thank you for not doing that.”
Join us as we renovate and extend Graeme’s family home, and see how we retain its sense of history, its memories and its character, while still modernising and improving.
The Home and its location
Why did we choose 44 Essex Street, Wembley? Well, style was definitely a factor. A project home would have been easier to modernise, but only a historic residence would truly showcase our renovation capabilities.
Obviously we wanted something that had had little or no work done to it. Something rich with original character. Something with great ‘bone structure’, solid foundations and interesting features. Something with an obvious history.
In other words, we wanted a home with a story, so we could write a spectacular sequel.
Of course, the location was important too. 44 Essex Street is an old home with a variety of tasteful homes nearby. It sits on the high side of the street, on a flat block close to a busy thoroughfare, but not on one. It offers ample row access from a laneway at the rear of the property, and required very little in the way of large tree removal or demolition of out-buildings. And finally it was centrally located and close to our office.
- Know your maximum spend
- Identify some local homes that are similar to what you have in mind
- If they’ve been sold since renovation, research their sale prices
- Estimate how much their renovation would have cost
- The sale price minus your reno estimate tells you approximately how much you can justify on a purchase
- Don’t forget to include sundry fees in your calculations (agent’s fees, stamp duty, etc)