An exciting expansion for the heart of a home in Balwyn North, Melbourne

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Creating additional space in this Balwyn North family home transformed daily living for both generations.

Before After
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The initial consultation

The cramped kitchen in homeowner Elisabeth’s Balwyn North property was dated with original appliances, but not the charming vintage sort. She wanted her kitchen to be the heart of the home: instead it was tucked away and detached from the rest of the living spaces. Teenage sons were another catalyst for Elisabeth reaching out to Renovation Consultant Paul Cree. The boys needed a sanctuary of their own. 
During their initial consultation, Elisabeth and Paul discussed how an extension would benefit the whole family. The property was on a sloping site, so building an extension could create a new kitchen with space enough below to accommodate a new workshop. The original kitchen space could then be converted to a games room for Elisabeth’s sons. Excited at the prospects, Elisabeth moved forward with the concept and costing phases. 

Moving along

Paul provided a pre-build estimate of $262,000 which Elisabeth was happy with. His team worked closely together during these early stages to finalise the plans. Paul’s in-house building designer mapped out the bones of the extension while his interior designer worked closely with Elisabeth to develop a kitchen design that suited the family’s lifestyle. 
Since the family wanted to remain in their home throughout, careful coordination was needed on Paul’s part to cause as little disruption to their lives as possible. With his construction and project managers committed to the same goal, the team erected the external structures first and then moved on to building the new kitchen. This way, there was always a functional kitchen in the home. Only after the new space was completed did the crew demolish the original kitchen. 

Facing challenges head-on

Throughout the ten-month construction period, the team was faced with some unexpected difficulties. After a visit from the building surveyor, the existing balcony above the new extension had to be upgraded with compliant waterproofing and its balustrade modified to comply with current regulations. This increased the final cost. Paul communicated the situation to Elisabeth immediately. 
Another challenge was the discovery of mudrock beneath the planned extension. Excavation of the mudrock would incur significant costs, so to minimise its impact on the project, Paul suggested reducing the size of the under-verandah-workshop, in turn, reducing the size of the excavation - a budget-friendly (and welcome) solution. 
COVID lockdowns and associated supply chain issues in Melbourne also presented difficulties, but Paul’s steadfast commitment to delivering a stress-free renovation for Elisabeth saw the crew through to their end goal of creating some epic spaces for the family.

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An eye-catching kitchen

While this renovation involved multiple spaces, the kitchen design is the most notable, a special feature being the Corian white onyx benchtop. It was installed with expert precision to seamlessly integrate the Corian sink, its drainage lines cut directly into the benchtop. The stonemason also cut curved corners and edges to the benchtop, softening the lines of the kitchen and creating a very tactile finish.
Elisabeth is a big fan of pink and green, so she requested the combination be included in the design. The splashback is a glossy spearmint-coloured tile, and the flooring is a retro colour scheme of pink, brown, and green.  

Final thoughts

This extension has added space to Elisabeth’s home, and immense value to the family’s lives. The boys now have their own space in which to chill out and Elisabeth has a kitchen that is now the heart of the home as she wanted. Adding the verandah outside of the kitchen allows entertaining to flow seamlessly between the spaces. Despite the many challenges Paul and his team were faced with, they’ve delivered a fantastic renovation for Elisabeth and she’s rapt with the results as well. 

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This project was completed in
September 2022
Project description
Kitchen extension
Project duration
10 months
Cost estimate
Actual cost
Excavation issues and COVID restrictions
Interesting aspects
Retro tiled flooring
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Paul Cree is Renovation Consultant of Zennix Pty Ltd, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise , doing business in Melbourne.

Actual costs vary by project. Plan ahead to reduce the impact of industry changes or disruptions. For more information see here.

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