You have questions. Find out my answers to the questions I am asked most frequently by prospective clients right on this page.
What do you do?
I design major renovations of homes, obtain development approvals and coordinate construction of our designs.
Who should I talk to first?
As a designer, talk to me first, so I can advise on all items affecting your property. For instance, your local council’s rules including heritage, bushfire, biodiversity and riparian rules and construction feasibility.
Make sure to get the right professional advice. This means asking your designer first, not a builder or council, whether you are considering an extension or a knock-down rebuild.
Can I find out if my vision is feasible?
I can advise whether your ideas will meet with Council and/or State regulations and discuss design options that are likely to lead to approval.
Moreover, I can also advise whether your budget is realistic for what you are considering, and then discuss typical timings for design, approvals and construction.
What type of projects do you specialise in?
All of my projects are custom designed because your particular home, property, wants, budget and priorities are all unique.
My focus is on major extensions, additions and a redesign and renovation of the house to ensure good light penetration, ventilation, and flow.
What will a designer want to know?
Tell me about your long-term plans for your home. For example, whether you are creating a quality ‘Forever’ family home or a home that improves how you live now but will be sold within a few years.
Then consider what is not working and what you would like to work better. For example, “People do not flow logically from room to room, and we need to improve the lighting and ventilation. We need spaces with separation for noise or privacy, for example, the kids need their own room, or our teenagers need to play music or socialise without disturbing the rest of the family.”
What is a “Brief”?
A “Brief” starts with the above information that I will need to know, then expands with specific details about how your family live in your home and how you expect this may change over time. How your family likes to interact, your hobbies, and whether you expect guests regularly and how you like to socialise.
A description of how you want your new home to look and feel is very helpful in achieving your dream. There is no need to specify the dimensions of a new extension or how to rearrange the floor plan as there are many factors to consider first that will impact the design.
Call me early in your research phase as it will save you time, effort and confusion.
How much will it cost?
It depends on what you are planning on doing, what condition your house is in and the types of finishes you want.
At an early stage, I can provide you with a guide as to what your project will cost to build and the fees it will incur for consultants and council. Then you can make informed decisions regarding the project.
This article may help, too: What can I achieve if my home renovation budget is $350k?
Do I need a DA or Complying Approval?
The D.A. process through Council may allow you the opportunity to discuss modifications of some rules if the proposal that you are presenting is reasonable and generally meets the Council’s objectives.
The Complying Development process is completely non-negotiable. You must comply with all requirements for a C.D.C., otherwise, your application will not be approved.
I consider many other criteria to decide the approval process that will give you the best outcome for your project.
What is required for Heritage and Bushfire areas?
If your property is on Bushfire Prone Land, or in a Heritage Conservation Area, then you need a designer and builder that have specialised skills and experience with these types of designs. The regulations, building products and building techniques are constantly being updated, so staying on top of the latest is a specialist’s domain.
The DA process is the only option for Heritage and certain Bushfire areas, not the Complying Development process.
Can I stage the construction?
Generally, a DA approval will enable the construction to be staged, but there are some restrictions. Complying Development cannot be staged.
Kitchen and bathroom renovations – now or later?
I strongly advise you not to renovate your kitchen, bathrooms or laundry if you are planning a future major renovation, as the future design may be severely limited if rooms have been renovated in a location that is unsuitable and cannot be moved to their ideal position, as you will not want to demolish these renovated rooms.
The best you can do for your home whilst waiting to undertake a major extension or renovation is to keep up with the maintenance, to prevent adding dollars to your renovation budget.
Is a renovation worth it?
We all want to provide the best for our family, especially for our children. My modern, elegant designs elevate your home to a place you will love living in. You will be able to take pride in welcoming your family and friends, because it feels great to call a beautiful home your own.
If you love where you live, renovation can be the best way to achieve a design that suits you personally.
Which areas of Sydney do you specialise in?
I cover the Northern suburbs of Sydney. This means I specialise in the styles of homes and the construction specific to our area.
I also specialise in the typical restrictions such as all BAL levels of Bushfire, (especially BAL Flame Zone) and Heritage Conservation areas.
I know the Local Council and State regulations so I can advise you on the best possible outcomes for your project. The Councils I work in are Ku-ring-gai, Willoughby, North Sydney, Hornsby, Lane Cove, Ryde and Northern Beaches (Warringah).
What are the best forms of sustainable design?
The most impact you can have on sustainability is to make the best use of the existing structure by re-purposing and extending.
Creating spaces with good natural light, cross-ventilation and sufficient insulation are all aspects of responsible and sustainable design.