Ris­ing to the chal­lenge

The dis­cov­ery of damp and asbestos was not enough to stop this ex­ten­sion from hap­pen­ing, writes Kirsten Craze

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - STYLE -

In the ini­tial weeks of a ma­jor ren­o­va­tion there are two ex­pres­sions you don’t want to hear — “ris­ing damp” and “con­tains as­bestos”.

When builder Ge­orge Sadek of Tru­man Build­ing So­lu­tions took on this free­stand­ing Fed­er­a­tion home in Le­ich­hardt, he hadn’t an­tic­i­pated be­ing hit with ei­ther home ren­o­va­tion hic­cup, let alone both.

“The big­gest is­sue in the house was the ris­ing damp, which was also caus­ing tim­ber rot in the floors. And as the prop­erty had been mod­i­fied in the 1950s and 1960s they used as­bestos back then,” Ge­orge says.

De­spite the dou­ble whammy hold­ing the pro­ject back four weeks at the out­set, Ge­orge says there is al­ways a so­lu­tion.

“Any­thing can be fixed, you’ve just got to be aware of it so you can then tackle the prob­lem,” he says.

A bit of a mess

Ge­orge says the then three-bed­room house was a true ren­o­va­tor’s de­light.

“It wasn’t in its orig­i­nal condition when we got it,” he says. “Pre­vi­ous own­ers had tiled on top of the ex­ist­ing tim­ber floors that had ris­ing damp. Out the back there was a big sort of shed that was also lined with as­bestos. It was a bit of a mess to be hon­est,” he says.

Be­fore even buy­ing the prop­erty, the own­ers had en­listed the skills of TW Ar­chi­tects to shed light on the pos­si­bil­i­ties.

“By the time they came to us, they had al­ready seen an ar­chi­tect and wanted to get an idea of what the build cost would be,” Ge­orge says. “They ended up buy­ing the prop­erty and en­gaged the ar­chi­tect who com­pletely de­tailed the house.”

The main brief from the own­ers was to make sure the ren­o­vated house was well in­su­lated and the ris­ing damp was treated.

“Then they wanted to cre­ate a bet­ter, more us­able, liv­ing space while still main­tain­ing the orig­i­nal front part of the house,” Ge­orge says.

The orig­i­nal floor­plan had two bed­rooms at the front, a pokey cen­tral liv­ing room, a com­bined bed­room and study up the back, and the kitchen open­ing to a closed-in ve­randa.

“We kept the hall­way and the first three rooms, which we changed into three bed­rooms in a row, and then at the back we ex­tended and also put in a se­cond storey,” Ge­orge says. “Es­sen­tially the front part of the house struc­turally re­mained. We kept the old ex­ist­ing roof tiles, and the front part of the house in­tact.”

The floor­boards un­der the tiles were lost to rot­ting and a new ce­ment slab was poured.

“That also pro­vided a bit of in­su­la­tion,” Ge­orge says.

Stor­age prob­lem solved

The roof cav­ity has been trans­formed into at­tic stor­age and, with the rear ex­ten­sion, three bed­rooms be­came four.

“The se­cond-storey ad­di­tion is a mas­ter bed­room with an en­suite and a walk-in robe. The whole space is for the par­ents,” he says.

Now the com­bined kitchen and fam­ily liv­ing area opens out via slid­ing doors to the level back­yard and pool.

Pic­tures Evan Maclean Pho­tog­ra­phy

The old kitchen had a tiled floor with tim­ber floor­boards un­der­neath.

The new open-plan kitchen is a de­par­ture from the orig­i­nal house at the front.

Keep­ing the orig­i­nal roof tiles kept costs down. The house is still in step with its neigh­bours.

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