Alexandra Duffey with her sons, Harry, 7, Jack, 8, and Tom, 12, at the home she has renovated in Chelmer. Image: AAP/John Gass.Source:News Limited
RENOVATING a home is hard work, but renovating one while living in a different country is a whole lot harder.
Just ask Alex Duffey, who bought a house in Chelmer sight unseen while she was living in Singapore and spent the first half of the renovation going back and forth on a plane.
“We actually signed the contract while we were overseas, but had a condition put in it so the deal was subject to viewing,” Mrs Duffey said.
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It turns out she was just as happy with the house in the flesh.
“It was just a cute little bungalow really,” Mrs Duffey said.
“A small house on a large block, so we saw the potential to increase the footprint of the house and make use of the land.”
BEFORE: The front of the house at 65 Victoria St, Chelmer, before the renovation.Source:Supplied
AFTER: The front of the house after the renovation.Source:Supplied
The Duffeys hired an architect to do some inital concept drawings and then rented out the house at 65 Victoria Avenue until they were ready to start the project.
“We found Michael Dougherty of Dougherty design. He’s a great designer and we loved his work. He did the initial concepts, which fitted the brief and the look we were after, and then detailed drawings from there,” Mrs Duffey said.
“We then brought in Bettina from Ascot Living to help with the detailed design and the interior finishes.
“But I was very involved because it was my project.
“A lot of the drawings and meetings we could do via email and Skype, but when it came to sitting down and doing selections and details, I would be in Australia.”
Mrs Duffey and her three sons moved back to Australia half way through the build so she could be onsite for the remainder of it and during that time, they lived in a serviced apartment.
“It was a three year project from start to finish, including all the design and pre-approvals and the build took about 12 months,” she said.
“About 18 months in, we got the design bedded down.”
BEFORE: The kitchen in the house at 65 Victoria St, Chelmer, before the renovation.Source:Supplied
AFTER: The kitchen after the renovation.Source:Supplied
Mrs Duffey said the original house did not have a functional floorplan so needed to be gutted back to frame.
“It was a bit of a rabbit warren, with little rooms everywhere,” she said.
“The previous owners had added on a separate granny flat about 15 years ago and beyond that, was the original swimming pool, car port and shade sail sitting area.
“You couldn’t really see the block from front to back.”
A demolition team was brought in to destroy the carport and granny flat and remove the original pool.
Excavation then began for the new 17 metre pool.
BEFORE: The back of the house at 65 Victoria St, Chelmer, before the renovation.Source:Supplied
AFTER: The back of the house after the renovation.Source:Supplied
AFTER: The outdoor entertaining area was added as part of the renovation.Source:Supplied
Character features of the original house were maintained where possible.
For example, the front door was moved but reused and the original verandas that had been filled in were opened up.
The front room of the house was also kept the same.
But every other room in the house was changed.
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Internal walls were removed to make the living, dining and kitchen area open plan.
A slab was put down for a double-storey extension at the back of the house and then a back deck added.
Upstairs, four bedrooms were created, including a master bedroom with ensuite and a large stair void.
BEFORE: The dining area of the house at 65 Victoria St, Chelmer, before the renovation.Source:Supplied
AFTER: The dining room after the renovation.Source:Supplied
Finishes throughout the house are of the highest quality.
“To do justice to the block (size), we didn’t want to do a big build and low finishes,” Mrs Duffey said.
“We wanted a fresh interpretation of a classic design — kind of Hamptons/Cape Cod.”
Carrara marble was used for the kitchen island bench and the master bedroom ensuite, while honed black granite was used against white cabinetry in the scullery and other bathrooms.
“We really wanted that contrast look,” Mrs Duffey said.
Schumacher wall paper was used to grace the walls upstairs and in the powder room.
BEFORE: The pool at 65 Victoria St, Chelmer, before the renovation.Source:Supplied
AFTER: The new pool.Source:Supplied
But one of the highlights of the property is the investment the Duffeys have made in turning the house into a smart home.
An integrated C-Bus and Control4 home automation system allows the house to be controlled from anywhere in the world through a smart phone.
That means security, lighting, audio visual equipment, airconditioning and garden irrigation can all be controlled at the touch of a button.
BEFORE: The front room of the house at 65 Victoria St, Chelmer, before the renovation.Source:Supplied
AFTER: The living room after the renovation.Source:Supplied
AFTER: The living and dining area.Source:Supplied
Mrs Duffey said they were planning to move back to Singapore and had decided to sell the home rather than rent it out.
“We did too good a job!” she said.
“It’s too high-end a home to rent it out, now I’ve lived in it and it’s my baby.
“I’ll just have to do another reno!”
BEFORE: A downstairs room of the house at 65 Victoria St, Chelmer, before the renovation.Source:Supplied
AFTER: The downstairs room is now a cinema and games room.Source:Supplied
The property is being marketed by Ann-Karyn Fraser from Place New Farm and is scheduled for auction on September 7.
RENO FACT CHECK
Time taken: 3 years
Total spend: $2m+
Originally published asMulti-million dollar home reno