Inside Out (Australia)
The Panel’s advice
Andrew Benn Architect and director, Benn + Penna Architecture, bennandpenna.com
This pretty house was originally a single-level cottage with the second storey added about 20 years ago. Aesthetically, it looks nice, but it’s been badly designed and built. Not only are there issues with the layout, poor workmanship is causing lots of little problems. Nothing lines up properly and Stephanie says it’s hot in summer, cold in winter and the doors stick after it rains. To solve all this, it will mean taking off the new extension and starting again. I’d suggest taking off the back of the house at the same time so we can sort out proper access to the garden. Then we’d be able to relocate the bathroom, rework the floorplan to give a good flow of living space from front to back, and let the light flood in.
Wayd Munro Builder, Focus build, focusbuild.com.au
The best thing we can do here is right the wrongs and start with a clean slate. But when you start taking things off, you have no idea what you might find and that can cause budget blowouts. The original part of any house is generally in better nick than the additions, but to strip off the shoddy work, you need to know where the dividing line lies. Can we do this for $100K? No – best to scale back the plans and make the house work for now. Put in a new kitchen, square off the living space and sort out the flow to the garden with a proper deck and wide stairs down to the lawn. Then, enjoy it for the next five years until the boys get too big for the house. There’s no point in putting on a fancy extension, as the rest of the house just doesn’t warrant it.
Lisa Koehler ISCD educator, stylist and interior decorator
If Stephanie plans to tackle the kitchen in the short term, I’d recommend keeping it simple. Install cupboards that go up to the ceiling to maximise storage and create clean lines, then minimise visual details with traditional Shaker-style cabinetry. Anchor the colour palette with pale charcoal – use half-strength on the walls with white trims and doors to highlight the traditional features. Repainting will make a huge impact! As a general tip when styling the rest of the home, avoid too many big things – big mirror, big couch, big rug, big TV! Mix the scale of styling elements and furniture to make the space feel inviting and intimate. The size of the furniture needs to work with the proportion of the room so it feels spacious and not overstuffed.
“Prepare for a big job or settle in for the short term” the panel