Inside Out (Australia)
Soaring ceilings, plenty of windows and timber textures have transformed this dark home into a contemporary open space. The Block’s Kara and Kyal strike again!
Renovating a home at lightning speed can test even the happiest of relationships. But for former The Block stars and soon-to-be parents of two Kara and Kyal Demmrich, juggling their latest property transformation while raising toddler son Ziya was the easy part. Having to contend with morning sickness in the final stages of the project, on the other hand, proved trickier - for Kara, at least. “Even the smell of the new carpet would make me feel ill,” she says. “It’s a fresh new smell that I would normally love, but it just set me right off.”
Fortunately, Kara and Kyal managed to meet their design and construction deadlines in near Block- time. Over the course of nine months, their Long Jetty property, once a dilapidated, poky fibro home, was given a dramatic facelift. Awash with organic textures and tones that pay homage to the surrounding seascape, the house has been transformed into a bright and beautiful abode. What was it about this place that appealed to you from the start? Kara: We first noticed the house while driving past one day. It had a certain charm about it and we fell in love with the big Canary Island date palm tree out the front. It was also a great sized block – 650 square-metres – so we knew there was room to play. When we took ownership, there had been some add-ons, such as a deck, shed, outdoor laundry-bathroom and a chicken coop. Kyal: By the time we’d done all the demolition work, we’d really only left the wall frame of the front two bedrooms. It was a huge job. We wanted an extensive open-plan living and dining area and the home was planned around that. You’ve worked together on more than 40 renos. What’s the secret to staying happily married? Kara: We disagree during the projects, but we’ve learnt that it’s almost like a teething process. You just have to listen to each other: once you do that, you end up coming up with a decision you’re both happy with. Kyal is good at spatial planning and layout – he builds the project. I’m more thinking about the finishes, colours and the look and feel. Kyal: And we’ve just had our 10th wedding anniversary and have been together for over 14 years, so it’s working! Speaking of the interiors, what vibe were you hoping to create? Kara: I wanted people to walk in and instantly feel it was a light, airy and fresh home. There is a lot of white, but also elements of colour in the artwork and other accessories.
Kyal:We designed the house with 3.6-metre ceilings in the living zone and highlight windows around the perimeter. It was a big challenge engineering the roof to handle that span, particularly to incorporate a vaulted section for skylights over the kitchen, but it was definitely worth the effort. We highlighted the open feel by scaling up the Corinthian ‘Moda’ doors to accentuate the high ceilings, and also choosing a wide feature door – the Corinthian ‘Deco’ – for the front entry. The doors have a lot to do with the feel and vibe of the renovation. How did you work in texture and pattern in the home? Kyal: I particularly enjoy working with timber. Being a carpenter, I love experimenting with it and it’s a bit of a signature of ours. In this house, there’s a lot of timber in the kitchen and bathrooms, and it also features in the beautiful Godfrey Hirst engineered oak flooring and blackbutt timber deck outside.
How did you ensure the home was family friendly? Kara: It’s about designing a layout that works for family life and choosing practical materials. For example, we definitely wanted a really big openplan area for the family to be able to hang out, but with that comes noise, so we chose Gyprock ‘Superchek’ plasterboard. It’s much better at absorbing sound than the standard product, and also more impact-resistant, so it’s perfect for a family home. You’ve just sold the house. It must have been tough handing over the keys. Kara:Yes, after stepping back and seeing how amazing it is, we did think it would be so nice to live here! Kyal: We do pinch ourselves as to how it all turned out. It really is the most spectacular home - definitely our favourite so far. See more of Kara and Kyal’s work through their company, Diverse Design & Construct, at diverseconstruct.com.