California Bungalow Renovation at Oswald Street is finished…

Posted by on Jan 19, 2015 in Blog, Project case studies | 13 Comments

Two years ago I sat with a blank sheet of paper, my favourite pencil, my clients dream, their trust, and my imagination. Now here I am visiting the home I’ve just finished creating for them. This is such an incredibly special moment. Months of daydreaming, designing, re-designing, working out how to build it, are behind me. I’m now standing in the space I spent so long imagining… This is what it is all about for me.

I only take on a few projects a year, so seeing one finished doesn’t happen often. I’ve chosen to remain a sole practitioner as the quality of my work is more important to me than the size of my practice. It means I can work directly with my clients, and see my ideas right through to their fruition. I feel it is the only way I can produce designs that are both true to my values and true to their needs.

Before.
In need of some love.After.
California bungalow after restoration

Arriving at the Oswald street California bungalow renovation, I’m a mixture of nerves and excitement. Waiting at the front door to be let in felt like an age. Once inside I didn’t say much, I was totally consumed, trying to take it all in. The varying elements and design features which I had worked on for so long in my sketch book and on my computer screen, are now in front of me. Everything looks even better than I had hoped. I was close to tears, yet my smile stretched from ear to ear. I thought to myself – I love this place. I wish it were mine. I created this?! It seemed hard to believe.

The video I made on this project is one of the most popular posts I’ve done, I get so many enquiries from people looking to renovate an old home. As I’ve mentioned before, working with old/ heritage homes are my favourite projects – this is recycling on the grandest of scales. Breathing new life into these tired old homes, ensures they will be around for another 100 years, showing future generations how we once lived. That means so much to me! I’m not just the designer of the additions, but also the protector and restorer of these pieces of our history. I make the minimum of changes to the original houses in these projects to ensure their beautiful features remain. The additions I add to the back can never be seen from the street, as I do not want to take away or compete with the beauty and grandeur of the old home. Yet the additions to the rear are cutting edge – reflective of the design style and materials of today, so there is no confusion in another 100 years as to what was original and what was not.

California bungalow renovation - view of living and meals

I have to thank my clients for helping this project turn out as well as it did. They fully trusted me, which is the hope of all architects; allowing me to explore my creativity whilst realising a home that meets their needs. To hear how happy they are, and that “they would not change a thing” is the measure of success for me.

View towards outdoor room

It’s hard to walk away after two years. I form such a strong attachment to all my projects, as I put so much thought into them, they feel like a part of me. However, while the design process is now over, and I must walk away, the life of this house has just begun. It is such an honour to give form to my clients dream. My hope is that it will be called home for many generations to come.

Click on images to enlarge. 
Rear of California bungalow and new addition.

Meals and kitchen - Polished concrete floor and timber ceiling. Kitchen with walk in pantry via secret door in the black wall behind. Powder room on the right.

Meals with living room beyond.

California bungalow renovation - Living area

Old house (red brick) meets new addition. 

Strong contrast between old and new.

New en suite in original house. 

13 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Celi
    January 19, 2015

    Absolutely wondrous Darren. Congratulations for applying your creativity so impeccably and congratulations to the proud new owners of their home. You comment on the heritage aspect is most intriguing and rare in today’s day and age. Preserving the old while merging it with the new in this house will be a testament to the legacy you’re in the process of making. I’m very happy for you and the owners!

    Reply
    • Darren Naftal
      Darren Naftal
      January 19, 2015

      Thanks Elizabeth for your beautiful words. Something that still looks beautiful 80 years after it was created, is something that has my utmost admiration and respect. I can’t mess with that, I can only give it the love it had been lacking and in doing so make others appreciate it too. It warms my heart to hear that the neighbours have thanked the clients for keeping the house, restoring it and bringing something beautiful back to their street. I hope I get to save many more.

      Reply
  2. Geoff Collinson
    January 19, 2015

    Congratulations Darren. Amazing!

    Reply
  3. Fiona Lucas
    January 20, 2015

    Stunning renovation Darren. I love the smooth lines of the extension which add a new dimension to the original home. Attention to detail and the use of glass to provide such a feeling of light and space. I love it.

    Reply
    • Darren Naftal
      Darren Naftal
      January 20, 2015

      Thanks Fiona! The property is not very big, so the use of glass made the spaces feel much bigger by blurring the boundaries between inside and out.

      Reply
  4. Jason Wier
    January 20, 2015

    Absolutely love it Darren, the owners were very lucky to have found you – and obviously great clients. Amazing transformation while retaining the honest and proud history of the facade. Congratulations.

    Reply
  5. KAREN
    January 20, 2015

    Stunning!

    Reply
  6. Michelle Astudillo
    January 21, 2015

    “I love it when a plan comes together”. A well thought out and meticulously detailed plan, built well, and well loved by the clients. There’s no better feeling or result than this for all parties involved. Congratulations Darren.

    Reply
  7. Ogunya Temidayo
    January 31, 2015

    nice work there Darren, you really inspire me even as an Architect too.

    Reply
  8. Slavko Banozic
    August 19, 2015

    Looking at the photos again, it is simply stunning Darren, love the colours, materials, layout, everything. A job well done!

    Reply

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