Justo Bouzo and his wife, Frances, had always shared the dream of building a waterfront house. However, to be able to finance the purchase and actually build on a waterfront block, they would have to sell their Haberfield home of 16 years. The problem they faced when they put their plan in action and bought a $2.3 million waterfront home in Gladesville was where to live in the interim? They decided their small, 128-square-metre investment terrace in Camperdown could do the trick. However, there was one more spanner in the works – the terrace was a rundown two-bedder and they had two teenage children.
Building your own stepping stone
As a professional builder, Bouzo had no issue with trying to renovate his problems away. So last year he enlisted John Van der Have of
Bio-Building Design to draw up plans to convert the small, shabby terrace into a funky family home. Given the state of the property, this was no easy task. ”The property was in its original state and pretty dilapidated,” Bouzo says.
The semi-detached terrace is part of a line of old single-storey worker’s cottages. To create two new bedrooms and a living space for a growing family, they would have to go out and up. This is something with which the council and the neighbours took issue.
You can’t please everyone
The kids needed space, the council needed the heritage facade maintained and the neighbours needed their sun. This would require compromise.
”There was a bit of overshadowing at the rear so, to overcome that problem, we had to build to the boundary on the ground floor and then a bit back from the boundary on the first level,” Bouzo says. ”The top level is now a bit narrower to keep our neighbours happy.”
One thing that Bouzo was pleased about was the budget.
”I thought it would cost between $400,000 to $500,000, and we did it under $400,000,” he says.
Bouzo says being a professional builder has its advantages when you are renovating the family home.
”The advantage was having all the resources available from other jobs that you are working on,” he says.
”It was also quite economical; I think we did very well with our savings on the finishes.”
A glossy finish
The design of this house is really about being clever with small spaces. The entry hall passes two bedrooms before coming to the open-plan kitchen and living area. This is really the heart of the house, lit up by the sunny easterly aspect of the back of the property. The backyard doubles as the off-street parking, so the back of the property can really shrink and grow, depending on the owner’s needs.
Upstairs there are two other bedrooms and, somehow, they have found room for a second bathroom and a study between the two.
However, the floor plan is just one element of the project. There is a lime-green motif throughout, giving a glossy and modern feel. Once the property has been lived in for a while, the glossy catalogue look will steadily develop a more homely, yet modern, aesthetic.
The final product may not be to everyone’s taste, but Bouzo prides himself on creating something far from vanilla.
”Everybody is doing this kind of work in the area and some of them are just square boxes, but ours is just a little bit different,” he says.
Taking the next step?
The only snag in Bouzo’s waterfront plan is that now the family is happy where they are.
”Work is very close for us and the kids going to university is also very handy,” he says. ”Nobody wants to move, let’s put it that way, especially the kids!”In a nutshell
Time Eight months.
Land size 128 sq m.
Internal size 133 sq m.
Architect John Van der Have, Bio-Building Design, 0427 475 118.
Builder Owner-builder – Sydney Building Corporation, 0412 076 706.
Green pointsImproved natural lighting and ventilation.Conservation and restoration of much of the existing dwelling meant most of the existing building fabric could be retained.
Bouzo says: ”The indoor-outdoor area; the floor-to-ceiling bi-fold doors open up the internal living space so that it flows onto the outside.”
Bouzo says: ”The most important thing is to know what you want, because you can’t really make too many changes. You have to picture what you want to do and then stick with it. Oh, and be good to the neighbours!”
What went right
The family achieved their goal of creating a house with a modern look and living spaces that suit all members.
What went wrong
The plans had to be altered slightly to appease the neighbours who complained about overshadowing.Costs
Preliminaries (council fees, architect, engineer, project manager) $48,000
Excavation and concrete work $18,000
Electrical, including light fittings, alarm system $16,000
Plumbing including PC items $18,000
Windows and doors $26,600
Plastering works, internal and external $26,000
Timber floors $19,200
Joinery, including kitchen, built-ins and bathroom cabinets $60,900
Front fence and fretwork restoration $6700
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.