While small can be cute, it’s generally not practical when it comes to your family home. That was the dilemma faced by a family of four and their pokey 1924 weatherboard cottage in Broadmeadow.
While the home served its purpose for almost a decade, its size, lack of rooms and age was becoming difficult to ignore and it was time for an extension and a refresh.
“It was a tiny cottage in a very old-fashioned state with three bedrooms and not much else,” the owner said.
“For eight years we’ve used one of the bedrooms as a lounge room and our two daughters shared a very small room. Last year, we reached the point where we couldn’t stand it anymore and decided it was time to call in the builders.”
The owners approached DWT Built to transform their little abode into a sunny, comfortable family home. The big challenge however was the position of the existing home – it was towards the rear of the block. “We didn’t want to go up so we had to make the most of the space between the house and the rear boundary, and out to the sides,” the owner said.
“We needed another bedroom and somewhere for guests to stay, we needed a second bathroom, and we really needed a new kitchen. We also wanted a defined line between the old house and the new addition because it’s difficult to convincingly imitate the older style when you’re adding on, and frankly, older houses can be boxy and inward-looking.”
To achieve a more open and modern approach to the additions, Dan Tolar and his DWT Built team used a combination of contemporary roofing, materials, outdoor spaces and loads of light.
He paired up with Troy Tarrant from Vogue Fix Constructions, and together they created calm spaces, open living, and most importantly, extra room.
The new part of the house features a sunken lounge, which steps up to a fun, fresh kitchen created by Danny Arratoon from DSA Kitchens and Joinery. It’s got bright colours, a spacious island, plenty of cupboards and is big on manoeuvrability, making cooking a delight. The kitchen blends seamlessly with an open-plan dining area, plus a bonus study nook and additional informal living area completes the space. The new shower and laundry provides that little bit extra needed to make a family home comfortable.
Now featuring a skillion roof within a parapet wall, thought had to be made about climate control. “We added some features to keep it cool in the summer, such as highly rated insulation in the walls and ceiling, a deep overhanging roof on the northwest facing deck, and Dan and Troy made some great rendered hoods that surround the windows in place of eaves,” the owner said.
The savvy insulation through the use of NRG rendered window awnings provides extra cool. Weathertex cladding was used on the new part of the home. “EcoWalls with timber battens to give an effect of gradual panel sizes increasing in size from the front corner of the house,” Dan said.
To counter the loss of light, laser cut screens from Oxworks in Thornton were used on the deck soffit, creating a pretty dappled effect. The family lived on site during the build to reduce costs, but seeing them in their pyjamas every day didn’t bother the DWT Built team.
"We were braced for dramas and months of aggravation because we’d heard so many awful building stories, but from the outset Dan was a great communicator, which meant that if something was delayed or problematic, he’d tell us straight away and let us know what he was doing about it,” the owner said. “Dan and Troy’s good humour, stamina and skill seemed limitless. They produced quality work and delivered on everything, including budget and time.”
Overall, the final result is exactly what the family were after. “We’re really happy that what we had pictured and the details we’d agonised over all came together and turned out to be a really nice space to live in.”
“We finally feel happy spending time at home. It’s still not a big house but it has plenty of space for us, we feel like we have room to breathe. We can all be here and not be stepping over each other. And the girls finally have their own rooms.”
The contrasting finish of old to new has blended to create a distinct feel. Like many old residences across Newcastle, it’s a synergy that needs attention to achieve something special and entirely of its own time.