Nielen Prince found a fantastic way to make better use of the space in this home's living area.
WORDS Persophene Nicholas
When Jessica and James Geake of College Park contacted Nielen Prince of Refresh Renovations Adelaide, they had a major renovation in mind. Their home, a detached house dating back to the late 1800s, had plenty of room, but the room configuration and layout didn’t meet their needs. They told Nielen they wanted to create a large, open plan living area and kitchen that would suit them better and enable them to make smarter use of their space. They also wanted to update a small laundry and bathroom
Developing house renovation plans
As soon as Nielen visited the home he was able to see its potential. He recommended opening up the area, relocating the kitchen and adding a butler’s pantry behind it. He also suggested building a timber staircase from the butler’s pantry to the room below so it could be used as wine cellar. He used a 3D graphics programme recommended by Refresh Renovations to show the couple how the reconfigured space could look and, while the butler’s pantry and wine cellar weren’t part of the original brief, Jessica and James were thrilled with the new possibilities for their home.
Renovating an older property can bring unique challenges, but Nielen says he was prepared.
Old house renovation considerations
‘We wanted to remain sensitive to the historical character of the building while bringing it into the 21st Century. There’s always uncertainty with old buildings – the construction methods in those days pose questions and you have to take that into consideration, particularly during the demolition of walls, for example.’
Once openings in the dividing walls were cut, the old kitchen removed and the new living area created, walls were given a fresh coat of paint and the original floorboards were made good, sanded and polished.
‘We had to do a bit of corrective work, particularly where we’d taken out the old kitchen, but the floors came up very well after that. They just needed sanding and then a high gloss clear varnish was applied,’ says Nielen.
An Amorini kitchen, with Innolac Super Matt White cabinetry and a Mirostone solid surface bench top in Capri, was installed in the opposite corner to its original location. Matt black pendant lights add a contemporary accent to the space.
The butler's pantry design
Behind the kitchen is the butler’s pantry, a hard-working zone that provides more storage (open shelving as well as drawers), more benchtop, another sink and a dishwasher. Designed to keep the mess and noise of meal preparation out of the kitchen, the butler’s pantry is also home to many of the couple’s appliances including the kettle, coffee machine and food processor.
‘I suggested we create a butler’s pantry in order to keep clutter out of the kitchen, which is part of the open plan living area,’ explains Nielen. ‘We managed to create room for it by relocating the kitchen and using the study space between the newly renovated living area and a separate formal lounge.’
Timber staircase ideas
It was pretty stress-free for a renovation of its size – they did a good job!
Nielen’s bright ideas didn’t stop with the butler’s pantry. He also recommended a feature timber staircase connecting the butler’s pantry to the large wine cellar area beneath it. The Geakes’ home now looks more spacious and modern, and functions much better than before. Nielen couldn’t be happier with the result.
‘I really enjoyed working on a home of this age - we gave this beautiful house exactly what it needed. We have two very happy customers and I’m proud of what we were able to achieve for them.’
Reflecting on the renovation, James says it’s made a big difference. ‘Our renovation looks nice and functions well. It’s changed a dank living area into a beautiful living space for the family. It was pretty stress-free for a renovation of its size – they did a good job!’
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