RUNDOWN BUNGALOW BECOMES A FAMILY'S DREAM HOME
WHO Todd, his wife Katie and their children, Zac, 12, Ava, 10, and Leo, eight, and their dog, Ellie WHERE Clovelly, NSW WHAT A three-bedroom Californian bungalow in Sydney’s eastern suburbs
This spacious family home owes a lot to Lady Luck. Curious owner Todd stopped at an auction for a stickybeak. “When the property was passed in, he made an offer,” explains his wife Katie. “He came home and announced, ‘I just bought a house!’”
The news was unexpected, as the family was preparing to move to Los Angeles for a year. But Katie soon saw what spurred Todd’s spontaneity – beneath the Californian bungalow’s dust, mould and sagging ceiling, was the potential for a perfect family home.
The couple hired architect David Smyth to create a design that melded the classic three-bedroom bungalow at front with a new open-plan living space and parents’ retreat at the back. “We really love the idea of open-plan,” says Katie. “It’s important for the home to have an expansive feeling that flows from the front to the back.”
The family was in LA during most of the rebuild, where Katie collected new design ideas. Cross-breeze ventilation, additional light and a timber-lined ceiling in the living area were added to her must-have list: “I saw [the ceiling] in a magazine in LA and just loved it.”
Katie and Todd also fell for Spanish and Mexican-style tile decoration. “The biggest splurge was the handmade fish scale-like tiles I had designed for the master ensuite and WC,” says Katie.
Many renovators would feel faint at the thought of being away during a major project, but Katie and Todd didn’t sweat it. “It was an advantage,” says Katie. “I might have been one of those pesky homeowners who turn up to site every day and start meddling.”