Inside Out (Australia)

The Panel’s advice


Andrew Benn

Architect and director, Benn + Penna Architectu­re, bennandpen­

This house has had various extensions done with no cohesive plan. My vision for this house would be to knock off the back and rebuild the extension at full width to house a new kitchen that spills out onto the garden. I’d then address the lack of light in the centre of the house by chopping out the landing to create more of a mezzanine feel, and putting a sizeable skylight above it – this would allow light to flood down the stairwell and into the living areas. With the front living areas, it would be a good idea to put up a wall to create a formal living area and let the back of the house be open plan. As long as they have a master plan, Caroline and Adam can tackle the work in stages to make it more affordable.

Wayd Munro

Builder, Focusbuild,

When it comes to renovating, you need to get the basics sorted first. The lady who lived here prior to Adam and Caroline has obviously looked after the place really well, but there’s a damp issue that needs to be addressed, and it can be a frustratin­g job. Penetratin­g damp comes from a variety of sources including loose or missing roof tiles, leaking downpipes, overflowin­g gutters, faulty flashing and badly fitted windows or doors. Once it gets in, water is like Houdini – and double-brick houses make it even harder to find out where it’s getting in, as it can track between the two layers for metres before it finds a spot to come out. I’d check the pointing, cladding, render and paintwork but most importantl­y, someone needs to take a good look at the roof.

The best place to start when it comes to choosing a colour palette is with the flooring. This house has wall-to-wall carpet throughout but I had a closer look and there are nice wide planks underneath. Caroline is keen to get them restored and once we find out what the tone of the flooring is, we can complement that with the colour we choose for the walls. Caroline is thinking white but I’d be inclined to paint the doors and deep skirting in white then choosing a quarter-strength grey for the walls to give the rooms a sense of scale. I’d suggest plantation shutters for the front window to create a central division and add some character back to the front of the house. They would also help create privacy, while letting in angled natural light.

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