Californian Bungalow Renovation, Melbourne

Built in the 1930’s in the Inner Melbourne suburbs, this Melbourne Californian Bungalow had previously seen renovations and the addition of a second storey. The family (who own a building company) were in the midst of a full renovation, and unsure of what to do to achieve the look they wanted. We were asked to design the bathrooms & home office, and assist with kitchen and interior architectural finishes selection.

Scroll over the 360o Panoramic Render above to explore the space

Designing for a builder is a slightly different process than designing directly for a client who has limited knowledge of construction. However this project is a clear example of a good builder who knows that every successful project does need a clear design by an experienced Interior Designer to run smoothly. It’s essential to have a design documented to assist direction and coordination of individual trades.

The brief

The client came to us with a few images of room styles they liked, to transform their Californian Bungalow interior into a space that suited their lifestyle; a space for an enthusiastic cook, adult-aged children & big family gatherings. They had already shopped around various suppliers, and had a idea of what they wanted, but could not seem to pull it all together. The key look and mood was modern & seek, with natural timber floors, Carrara marble look counters, and fresh crisply painted walls.

We selected interior architectural finishes such as natural oak floors, cut pile carpet, paints, doors and door hardware, and marble look engineered stone that could have the grain book-matched for a striking visual effect in the kitchen & butler’s pantry, and bathroom finishes, plumbing fittings & fixtures. The project also included the three bathroom renovations and the design of a home office.

The biggest obstacle was that we were brought on board in March 2020 just as Covid 19 started.

The Challenges

A few big challenges for this project! The biggest was that we were brought on board in March 2020 just as Covid 19 started, and the team had no idea how this would impact everyone. The second challenge was that the home owner was in the middle of the renovation, with bathrooms already stripped out and no clear plan on what they wanted to do. With the uncertainty & unknowns of pandemic in the offing, and a construction site in full swing, it’s was not a time for the faint-hearted designer! We were to shortly be put into Lockdown, and supplies would become difficult to procure.

The bathrooms had already been demolished when we arrived!

The Process

Despite owning a building company, this client needed help fast to confirm the layouts of all the rooms, including locations of plumbing fixtures. They had staff & contractors on site who needed clear direction on what needed to be done, where showers, basins, baths and toilets needed to located, direction on paint & flooring finishes.

For this project we needed a clear plan on what was required & when!

We first conducted a full site survey of each room, measuring room sizes, existing plumbing locations, taking note of existing features and finishes that would remain (such as the Art Deco cornicing & skirtings) and latent conditions that may affect the design. Then began the sketch planning stage, concept design and documentation.

We took time to visit tile suppliers to find the perfect marble look floor and wall tiles for the bathrooms. Tiles are very difficult to select without seeing the full tile, and even without seeing the tile in quantity; I always allow for time to conduct a showroom visit when selecting tiling for your bathroom.

During site visits, details such as skirting & window frame styles, blinds & curtain locations were finalised with the home owner and contractors as these decisions became necessary. In an ideal design process, these would have been resolved prior to commencement of work on site.

The Design

Part of an Interior Designer’s job is to find the perfect medium for each client. In this case – as in many – that involves finding the right balance in colours & finishes to satisfy everyone. This couple knew they wanted real timber floors. We created an interior finishes palette with limed oak floors, crisp white paints, luxurious thick cut pile wool carpet and engineered marble bench tops for the main living areas.

The space for the home office hadn’t been decided, and various sketch plan options were investigated in order to decide upon which room was best suited for the purpose. This room needed to be a dedicated home office & also had to accomodate a sofa-bed for the occasional overnight guest, or watching TV; ensuring this all fit in the existing room was a must.

Renovating a bathroom requires meticulous planning. Various sketch plan options for each of the bathrooms were developed. This project included a new powder room with walk-in shower, a full renovation of the existing hard working family bathroom for teens & young adults that needed to withstand the wear & tear of make-up stains (& not-so-tidy teens). The existing master ensuite also needed a refresh with new a new vanity and fittings. As this is an existing old home, there where limitations with the existing structure (for example, internal solid brick walls that could not be demolished without engineering design). In some instances we maintained the existing plumbing locations roughly where they already were; in the powder room these needed to be moved to accomodate a new walk-in shower design.

Selecting paint colours for your home, and selecting floor finishes to suit a client’s personal taste requires a designer to be impartial to their own preferences. A neutral & textural classic palette of architectural finishes was developed for this Californian Bungalow Renovation, as well as options for feature lighting for the bathrooms and kitchen. Matt black bathroom fixtures where selected for the family bathroom, and classic polished chrome for the powder room and ensuite. The new ensuite vanity finishes needed to work in with the existing; we selected a few timber veneers.

The Look

1st Row: Lucretia Lighting Replica “Aballs”, Cavalier Bremworth “Aroha” in Kaweka, Dulux “Lexicon Quarter”; 2nd Row: Eveneer “Chalkwood”, Earp Bros “XL light in Kala White, WK Quantum Quartz “Alpine Matt”; 3rd Row: NavUrban “Blackheath”, Laminex “Alaskan” in Nuance finish, Reece Posh “Domaine Single Rail Shower” in Matt black