WORDS Mina Phillips
Project outline: Conversion of a basement room into a granny flat with kitchen/laundry, tiled bathroom, and new bedroom with wardrobe. The homeowner lived on site for the duration of the build
Dwelling type: 1980s three-storey dwelling (approximately 250m2)
Projected timeline: nine weeks
Actual timeline: 11 weeks “I was fine with it because [the finished result] is exactly what I wanted” – Binaifer Behdin
Projected budget: $65,000
Actual budget: $70,000
Biggest challenge: “Finding innovative ways to keep in budget” – Dominic Hollands
Biggest Win: “Keeping the front access in in tune with the existing access,” says Dominic. “We matched the doors - it looks very subtle.”
It’s not typical for a sizeable renovation project’s budget to be cut from an initial projected budget of $70,000 down to a final cost of $65,000 – without any cut to the scope of the project. But renovation dreams do come true and the conversion of the basement room of this Blockhouse Bay home into a self-contained granny flat with kitchen, bathroom and wardrobe, is proof. Find out how Refresh can help you build your own granny flat.
The new space now has its own external access, which means the homeowner’s relatives can stay for long periods and come and go as they please. Soundproofing of the ceiling, comprising of soundproof plasterboard and insulation means the occupants above are none the wiser.
The six by eight-metre space was initially a large room with a storage cupboard. To avoid costly reconfiguration the storage cupboard was transformed into a fully tiled bathroom and a kitchen/laundry was installed at one end of the space. At the other end, a bedroom was sectioned off next to the bathroom.
The client was very particular about the detailing of the space and so the concept stage was thoroughly explored. After looking at layouts and council requirements, an initial budget indication was drafted and once the client agreed, detailed working drawings were completed and put through council. Once the consent was issued a final budget was drafted and the client gave the project the go-ahead.
But the first hiccup came when an unexpected cost of $8,500 came from the council – which took both Refresh project manager Dominic Hollands and the client by surprise. However, Dominic saw an opportunity to recoup the cost by reducing unnecessary plumbing and installing a self-composting toilet system.
“It meant we didn’t need to dig up a lot of the ground to attach pipes onto the waste. We used an electric waste disposal system, which a lot of people are engaging and using now.”
Client Binaifer Behdin, who remained living on the two floors above the renovation site throughout the build process says changes to the initial plan were nothing to worry about due to the professional project management services.
“Dominic from Refresh managed the whole thing – we had constant communication, we had clear, transparent discussions and nothing was too hard,” says Binaifer.
But while the final budget was reduced, there were issues with the timeline and the build process was increased by two weeks due to an unforeseen illness of the builder, and delays to offsite manufacturing of the external access joinery. The joinery was a bespoke design that complements and matches the joinery of the existing entrance.
The attention to detail creates a seamless look and it’s impossible to tell the basement conversion is anything but original.
Refresh contractor Dominic Hollands says the sophisticated and comfortable space is a good example of a client willing to spend on quality.
“People want to convert downstairs spaces but they aren’t always willing to spend effectively. If you spend a little more money, then you can get a better, long-lasting product; the client was willing to spend the money to get a quality solution.”
Binaifer is extremely pleased with the result, too and says it was a great decision to renovate because it was a project that had been on her mind for some time and it was carried out exactly how she envisioned.
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