Top Tips On Renovating Successfully From Balance Architecture + Interior Design

Victorian Home fully restored

Victorian Home fully restored

During the year the team from Balance Architecture + Interior Design have shared some great tips for successful renovations. We have chosen their top tips and put them together in this year-end blog:

The first tip is to list the positive and negative features of a space.  Consider carefully what works well and what doesn’t, think about what you love about it and what you want to get rid of, also what needs changing. What is the purpose of the space? How can it best work for you and your family?  Try to anticipate any likely changes to your lifestyle in the future that will affect the space.

The second tip is when renovating a heritage home to do it with great care and respect for the history and original design concepts of the building. Sensitivity to the heritage overlays, council requirements and structural condition of your home will save you much time and angst. Architects and Interior Designers, such as Andrew Fedorowicz and Amanda Richmond, that have the experience and knowledge required for heritage renovations will ensure an end result that resonates with the true history of your home.

The third tip is to detect any problems in the building that require addressing before embarking upon structural changes and beautification.  For example, a damp house is a serious problem, causing building defects, health problems and can be costly to repair if the issue is not addressed promptly. Types of dampness are condensation/horizontal/falling and most commonly, rising damp.

The fourth tip is to create space. Amanda Richmond recommends creating a view from room to room, such as overlooking a lower level from an upper level or through placement of windows to capture the outside vista. Use colour to visually move between spaces, remember that darker colours advance, lighter colours retract. Define spaces by using contrasting materials and remember a fluid movement through the space helps create the illusion of more space.

Creating Space In Your Interior

Kitchen Design by Amanda Richmond

Kitchen Design by Amanda Richmond

Creating space is the holy grail of renovations, particularly when redesigning an older style or heritage home.  Older homes tend to have much smaller rooms, each with a designated purpose, whereas the modern style is to have large, open, multi-function spaces such as an open plan kitchen, dining, family room. Interior Designer, Amanda Richmond shares some of her top tips for creating space.  Amanda is the leading Designer for Balance Architecture + Interior Design.

Create a view
Create a view from room to room, overlooking a lower level from an upper level or create the classic view, looking outside to an exterior space from your interior. Create surprising juxtapositions, reveal views and bring light into the interior.
Use Colour
Colour helps to visually move between spaces – remember that darker colours advance, lighter colours retract. Find richness in plain materials and contrast textiles against leather.
Define spaces
With the use of contrasting materials you can better define spaces, such as darker skirtings, architraves and flooring against lighter coloured walls.
 Define individual spaces
A clever way to achieve this is to use half height partitions, such as for a toilet within a large bathroom.

Create fluidity
A fluid movement through the space helps create the illusion of  more space. This can be achieved by contrasting open plan spaces with overlapping wall planes or structural members. Some great examples are:
A glass balustrade staircase intersecting a void
A contrasting colour or material for ceiling rafters
Glass screens animated by the movement of water

With years of experience at renovating heritage buildings Amanda Richmond offers a unique perspective on the creation of space.  Contact Amanda directly to discuss how she can help you with your next renovation project.

Resolve Building Issues Before You Renovate

Ivanhoe House

Prevention is always better than cure! Identifying and resolving underlining building issues prior to decorating or renovating will save you time and money. So don’t jump into those renovations without checking out the health of your building first.  Interior Designer Amanda Richmond and Architect Andrew Fedorowicz from Balance Architecture + Interior Design say the things to look for are –

• Roofs & Walls out of alignment
• Ceiling discoloration suggesting roof leaks
• Damp patches
• Sudden leaks
• Bouncing floors
• Bulging, peeling plasterwork
• Unexplained cracking
• Persistent musky smell

Possible causes may be –
Blocked gutters, rising damp, defective internal plumbing fittings & fixtures, cracked roofing tiles, rusted gutters, inadequate internal box gutters, no roof overflow considerations, termite infestation, defective floor stumps/foundations, tree roots.

If you are a handy man or woman or have a handy man or woman friend or family member you can check out some of these issues fairly easily and resolve them.  However, most of these issues will require the services of a professional plumber or builder and, in the case of termites, a pest control company.  It is important to have any of these issues dealt with properly and resolved before you spend money on renovating or decorating your home as over time those problems will only get worse and ruin the effect of the renovations.

Imagine if you have just painted a room a lovely, fresh colour and the next thing you have a major leak from the ceiling down the walls or rising damp coming up the walls and ruining the paintwork?  It is just not worth the risk and heartache.  So please follow this wise advice from experienced, professional renovators Amanda Richmond and Andrew Fedorowicz and make sure you have a healthy building before you renovate!

Tuning Into Your Style For Interior Design

Renovation by Balance Architecture + Interior Design

Renovation by Balance Architecture + Interior Design

How do you define your personal taste when it comes to planning an interior design? If you are considering renovating or redecorating your whole house, bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms or living spaces, or if you have a newly built home, it is important to stamp your own personal style on your interior spaces.

To help define your own personal style, Interior Designer Amanda Richmond, who is incredibly experienced at renovating and redecorating interior spaces, suggests that you list spaces that appeal to you. Source your inspiration from houses you see, individual rooms you visit, shops you like, restaurants that appeal, films that inspire, books on design or photography, magazines on design, modern living or decorating spaces, design blogs and articles as well as fashion trends.

Define why these spaces or places appeal to you, what is evocative or meaningful to you – how did it look, what sounds did you hear, what smells reached you, how did you feel? Take into account the ventilation, light, movement, orientation, shape, space and harmony of the space and how it affected you.

To help you remember and delineate what your personal style is, keep a design file. Store images, fabrics or anything else that reminds you what appeals to you. Another clue to establishing your own personal style is to think about seasonal changes and what appeals to you. Consider colours, temperature, texture, smell. Add these to your design file too.

It is also critical to consider the nature of your location and how it impacts on your decision making process when renovating or building. For example if you live on beach frontage you need to offset the effects of salt water and offshore winds, so your external finishes will be chosen with this in mind as well as landscaping, which would have to be designed to suit to these conditions.  Balance Architecture + Interior Design have a wealth of experience, particularly in renovating heritage homes, so check them out for further inspiration.

An Interior Designer Asks Why Change an Interior?

Family room renovation by Amanda Richmond

Family room renovated by Amanda Richmond – Deepdene

If you are thinking about changing the interior of your home or a room like the kitchen or living room it is worth considering a few things first before you make the final decision to change it and set about ordering the new paint, drapes or lighting or even contacting an Interior Designer to professionally redesign the space. Amanda Richmond, a highly experienced Interior Designer from Balance Architecture + Interior Design, offers these tips before you start.

Firstly, list the positive and negative features of the space.  What works well, what doesn’t, what do you love about it and what do you want to get rid of? Add to the list the things in the space that need to change.  You need to give consideration to the purpose of the space, what is it used for, how best can it work for you and your family?  Can you anticipate changes to your lifestyle in the near or distant future that will affect the space to be redesigned?

You need to get down to the nitty gritty of the space and consider how well it works on a number of levels. Does anyone using the space have special needs? Is the atmosphere comfortable even when the outside temperature soars high or drops low? What about the artificial lighting in the space – does the type of lighting, where it’s positioned and the style of light fixtures and fittings suit your needs and taste?  An important issue, especially in older homes, are the power outlets.  Do you have enough? Are they in the right position? Storage is the other big need often not met, is there enough for your family in this space or do you need more?
Now you are ready to make the right decisions when renovating and redesigning your home so it becomes the type of space that caters to your family’s needs, reflects your personality and is a joy to inhabit.

Renovating A Californian Bungalow

Californian Bungalow

Californian Bungalow – Travancore, Ascot Vale House

The Californian bungalow was a popular house style in the United States from 1910 to 1939 and became popular in Australia from 1913 onwards, coinciding with the rise of the Hollywood film industry, which popularised American clothes, furniture, cars and houses. The original bungalows in the United States were built to meet the needs of the middle classes who were moving from apartments to private houses in great numbers. They were low cost, low profile and modest homes. The growing suburbs of cities like Sydney and Melbourne, with a similar climate to California, required a low cost solution for housing shortages, the Californian bungalow was a perfect fit.

Today a proliferation of Californian bungalows are to be found in many of the older suburbs of Melbourne, such as Moonee Ponds and Bentleigh. They are highly valued and a sympathetic renovation brings them up to date, improving their liveability and desirability as a family home. Balance Architecture + Interior Design recently renovated Californian bungalows in Travancore and Ascot Vale.
When walls were removed in the Travancore home, it opened up the entire rear living space, creating the effect of doubling the size. A new kitchen was installed with granite bench tops and European electrical and plumbing fixtures. The original pantry area was upgraded with granite benches as well as new shelving and preparation areas. The bathroom was renovated into a larger, multifunctional room with separate bath and shower facilities and, along with the Laundry & Powder Room, electrical mesh heating was laid under the tiles. Floor boards were replaced and windows repaired, including double glazing of a lead-light window.

The kitchen renovation in Ascot Vale was designed to be sympatico with the French provincial style, allow more light to the space and enough room for multiple users. The kitchen was moved to the dining area, giving it visual access to the lounge room and pool.  A new leadlight window was installed to increase light levels, while providing subtle colour, and sky domes pour daylight into a naturally dark, internal space. Blue Pearl polished granite benchtops reflect the light.

Architecture by Andrew Fedorowicz and interior design by Amanda Richmond.

Every Home Has A Story, Reveal It With An Expert Renovation

Renovation at Deepdene

Renovation at Deepdene

Every home has a story, as evidenced in the television program “Who’s Been Sleeping In My House”. In this series, aired on ABC, Archaeologist Adam Ford seeks to uncover the hidden stories of people’s houses across Australia, uncovering fascinating stories about the past residents and the past uses of the buildings. Sensitivity to the past history of a home, including the original architectural features and design sensibilities, is important to uncover the beauty, personality and charm of the house in which you live.

So when it comes time to renovate or remodel your heritage home, do it with great care and respect for the history and original design concepts of the building. Employing an Architect that is experienced at heritage renovations, knowledgeable and sensitive to the heritage overlays, council requirements and structural condition of your home will save you much time and angst and produce an end result that will resonate with the true history of your home. It’s just as important to call on the skills and experience of an Interior Designer that understands the historical elements and features of the building and designs interiors that are contemporary yet sympathetic to the past style and grace of your period home.

The team at Balance Architecture + Interior Design offer this level of experience, expertise and integrity for renovations, restorations or remodelling of period homes. Architect Andrew Fedorowicz is registered as an Associate Architect with The Royal Australian Institute of Architects (A.R.A.I.A.) and has been in private practice for 34 years specialising in heritage work. Interior Designer Amanda Richmond has a B.A. in Interior Design and worked as an administrator in her own private building company specialising in heritage renovations. She is Past President and Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia. Put your home in the hands of the experts.

Specialist Renovations For Heritage Homes

Blog 9 image 2

The renovation or remodelling of a heritage home is a specialist project. Owners want to maintain the integrity of the architectural style and unique period features, but also need to create a space suitable for modern living. Architect Andrew Fedorowicz (A.R.A.I.A.) and Interior Designer Amanda Richmond, of Balance Architecture + Interior Design are experts in heritage renovation.

Andrew Fedorowicz has been in private practice for 34 years specialising in heritage work and is vastly experienced in Architectural practice, from design to construction. With a strong eye for detail and a comprehensive understanding of structural engineering and associated disciplines Andrew has major experience in complex restorations. The recipient of major awards from both the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and the Housing Industry Association, Andrew works at the highest level of architectural excellence.

Amanda Richmond is a Past President and current fellow at the Design Institute of Australia through its Victorian chapter. She excels at creating an integrated, pleasing interior for heritage homes. Her award winning designs are contemporary yet sympathetic to the past style and grace of historical and period homes, creating elegant, liveable, stylish interiors that make a house a home.  With 18 years’ experience running her own building company specialising in heritage renovations, she is well versed in Architectural administration and Interior Design.

It is imperative to understand the finer points of an interior design that fully integrates with the heritage of a building. The team from Balance Architecture + Interior Designs can deliver on both the authenticity of the heritage style in their  renovations well as creating an interior that reflects the personality and style of the home owner.

Architects & Interior Designers Need To Get Your Brief Right!

Indoor pool area

Indoor pool area – Moonee Ponds House

When working with Architects and Interior Designers to renovate or remodel your home it’s important that the professionals you hire can get your brief right, or you may end up with a new-look house that does not fit your vision!  Andrew Fedorowicz, Architect and Amanda Richmond, Interior Designer of Balance Architecture + Interior Design have years of experience at renovations, particularly heritage buildings, so they are well versed on interpreting a client’s brief correctly.  A property in Moonee Ponds presented some interesting challenges, Andrew Fedorowicz explains how he resolved the problems presented, resulting in  very happy clients.
Challenge – social space for teenage children
The family who owned the house had teenage children who had social needs that the parents wished to accommodate within the home. They preferred their teenage children to bring their friends over to hang out, rather than seek their social activities elsewhere.
Solution – Andrew created an indoor pool (pictured above), gym and bar area with an external BBQ seating area leading off the pool space. There is a visual connection from the pool area to the existing kitchen, dining area and BBQ area.

Bar B Q area

BBQ & Alfresco Dining

Challenge – not enough car spaces
With the teenage children getting to the age where they had their own cars the family found there was not enough parking space with only a two car garage and limited off street parking.
Solution– Andrew constructed a new garage, which is long and narrow, allowing cars to jockey park with clear access on one side of the building, permitting parking movement.
Challenge – client not understanding the drawings
During the design stage of this project the client had difficulty reading and understanding the 2 D drawings presented.
Solution – 3D modelling on screen opened up the visuals for the client so they could understand the scale and orientation of the designed spaces.

Challenge – Internal swimming pool design must conform to AS safety standards – prohibited access
Solution – Self-locking door closures were installed on the doors leading into the pool. Also, a trafficable pool cover was installed by the pool company which is submerged under a perforated stainless steel plate below pool floor level. Mould is avoided by using a condenser, with a dedicated air supply vented via the plant room. Flooring materials used are smooth,non-slip, natural travertine.

Pool SS plate

Pool SS plate

Waterproofing A House When Renovating

Exposed brickwork reveals no damp proof course.

Exposed brickwork reveals no damp proof course.

When renovating, problems can sometimes be detected in the building that require addressing before the structural changes and beautification stage can begin.  One good example of this is a damp house. This is a serious problem as damp houses cause building defects, are unhealthy and can be costly to repair if the issue is not addressed promptly. Types of dampness are – Condensation/Horizontal/Falling & most commonly Rising damp.  Signs of dampness are surface stains, lifted surface finishes, efflorescence and fretting.

Award winning Architects and Designers Balance Architecture + Interior Design come across these tell-tale signs in some of the heritage houses they renovate or remodel.  The most common reason for a building to develop problems with damp is that there are changes to the conditions at the base of a wall that puts pressure on the damp proof course. An example of this would be a mortar mix that does not have enough waterproof compound mixed into it. Rising damp is where accumulating water works its way up the wall using capillary like action. The damp- proof courses that are installed during building are intended to block this action. Minor movements can cause cracking to the damp proof course, allowing water ingress and thus rising damp.

In one renovation Balance Architecture + Interior Design began work upon they discovered there was no damp proof course when the brickwork was exposed after the skirting board was removed. The accompanying picture clearly illustrates this.  To solve this problem holes were drilled into the mortar joint and a plastic syringe was installed. A product named ‘Silane-Siloane Based Impregnant’ was introduced into the syringes and left to drain slowly, saturating bricks and mortar joints. The product dries and solidifies creating an effective damp proof course.

For more information see SAA Masonry Code. AS3700. Balance Architecture + Interior Design call on damp proof experts Tech-Dry to help when faced with damp houses.