A stunning renovated family home designed to transition through generations
This spectacular home was renovated beautifully by a couple with incredible vision for creating an ultimate family home that could see them through generations. An interesting journey led them to this home after looking at several others and as soon as they stepped inside this husband and wife duo knew they had found the one. Bringing inspiration from their floristry business, Jodie McGregor flowers, the home has a beautiful natural transition between the indoors and outdoors, perfect for Sydney living.
Dddreamhouse was lucky enough to speak with homeowners Stu and Jodie to learn more about this gorgeous home and their secrets to creating this family paradise.
Dddreamhouse: What was your vision before the renovation?
Jodie & Stu: We were looking at so many places to find the one that felt just right. We wanted something that was either done and built as we liked it or to find something that had great potential and loads of characteristics and features that we loved and we could build on.
Turns out we stumbled across this place looking at another – the vendor didn’t want neighbours snooping so there were no for sale signs at all and he did nothing to present the property. So the pool was green, he was inside smoking during inspections and the walls were painted a less than appealing burgundy colour.
However, what the site had was a perfect orientation, a wonderful green and leafy outlook, a surprising quiet location, access to transport, a federation home with strong, solid bones, the harbour 50metres away, and the most amazing frangipani tree in the backyard.
We were hooked and could already visualise how the house could be. We arranged for our friend and architect, Vanessa Wegner to have a look with us together with another good friend, Jason Miller who is a builder to have a look to get their thoughts. They both agreed – perfect for a modernist renovation whilst maintaining the streetscape as is.
Our vision then was quite simple. Create a family home that would work for us with a young family (kids 8, 10 and 12) but that would also suit in another 20 years with kids grown up and grandchildren on the way.
Maximising the outlook and enjoying the frangipani and the privacy that the trees and surroundings provided was important to us. As was creating a home that had areas for family and friends to spend together but also provided for private areas.
Ultimately, we wanted to create a home that we loved spending time in and where friends and family felt welcome and comfortable. Growing up my home was one that people tended to congregate at – I enjoyed this and wanted to continue this and for my kids to experience it as well.
Dddreamhouse: How did you select your contractors?
Jodie & Stu: We started with the architect and for this there was only one choice, Vanessa Wegner Architect. Vanessa designed our first renovation and has become a fabulous friend. She has a wonderful warm but very strong style in her design and completely gets what we are looking for.
The choice of builder is the other critical decision to make. Of course, the builder needs to be capable and be able to build what the architect has designed. And do it well. However, after that, for us, the biggest thing is that you’ve got to like the builder, be able to get on with him. From tender through to completion it could be a good couple of years so a strong, healthy relationship is important. We asked 4 builders to tender – one had a very good name in the local area, another had worked with Vanessa and on a friends’ renovation, another was a builder in the area we knew through friends and finally there was a builder who was a customer in the florist shop.
In the end, we went with DJB Group – Dave was a customer in the florist. I knew him as a nice person, he’d done similar work to what we were wanting completed and through the tender process he was resourceful and intelligent and came up with ideas to save us money and win himself the tender.
From there, many of the contractors – electricians, plumbers, demolition, roofers and the like came with the builder. But others such as lighting, pool, appliances we sourced ourselves. And again, for these, we went for good people who were all about good quality. In many situations we used people we’ve built relationships with in the past. Working with people you can rely on and trust makes the whole process so much simpler.
In many situations we used people we’ve built relationships with in the past. Working with people you can rely on and trust makes the whole process so much simpler. Justin at JSB Lighting is always a fantastic help and Dave Clift at Landshapers was amazing for everything he did for the pool and landscaping.
Dddreamhouse: What did you feel was the most important thing to get right?
Jodie & Stu: We wanted the house to look right and we’re really happy with how it turned out in that regard. However, what was most important was the connection between the different areas – we wanted the flow to be natural and right. And I think we were fortunate with the existing trees, together with the original pool orientation that we had a good foundation for this to be designed to work. The kitchen, living and dining area is the central hub, with the other components branching off closely from here. On one side you have the outdoor deck area, pool, pavilion, garden and hammock, then another the bedrooms and entrance, another clothes line and utilities and then upwards the office and parent sleeping area.
Dddreamhouse: From photographs, different materials were used across the spaces creating multiple textures. How did you choose these and why?
Jodie & Stu: We were doing this renovation for us and to last so we focused on using quality materials. Steel, concrete, hardwood, glass, marble, stone and the like provide the strength and form that appeals to us for the framework.
Then we can use cushioning, rugs, curtains, throws and individual pieces to create interest and colour and we can change this over time. Other than that, we love paintings, photos and sculptures and concrete, steel and timber provides a great backdrop for these.
Dddreamhouse: The property is styled to perfection – how did the interior design and the styling come together? Was this your own doing or a professional?
Jodie & Stu: Thank you, that’s very nice! We did it ourselves (with some really useful input from our kids) and had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to achieve. Pretty much comes down to quality, clean lines and comfort. We don’t really enjoy the shopping around for furniture thing to be honest so like to source things that we like and that are made well so that they last. Then, over time and travels pick up small pieces and additions that we love.
The thing that we are really lucky to be able to do as well is add flowers to the house from our Sydney florist store and depending on what we do this can either completely change the look or reinforce the features of the home.
Dddreamhouse: Now that you've been living in the home for a while, what do you love most about it?
Jodie & Stu: It might sound a little silly but I just love the fact that I feel so at home here. Having a garden that I cherish or a light fitting I love is nice but for me I just love that our home makes me feel really happy. And I think that’s come from taking our time and making the right choices throughout the renovation process.
Thank you to the wonderful Jodie & Stu from Jodie McGregor's Flowers for sharing their home with us!
Photographer: Chris Warnes