Clever use of concrete-based cladding helped provide a new lease of life for this picture perfect cottage in north-western Sydney.
Located in Baulkham Hills, the house is the fifth project to be tackled by Three Birds Renovations, a trio of long-time friends who’ve turned transforming tired suburban dwellings into delightful family homes into a successful enterprise.
The project represents the Birds’ first foray into fibro. A former rental property in good repair, the three-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage has been renovated and extended to become a four bedroom, two bathroom home with two living spaces.
“We hadn’t done a house quite like this before; we’ve always done brick renovations,” Three Birds director Lana Taylor says.
“This was a fibro cottage, well-kept but small and dated, which we reconstructed and remade externally, with the use of Scyon™ Linea™ weatherboard.
“The cottage has real charm – lovely old stained glass, leadlight windows, high ceilings, picture rails, a beautiful front porch – that was a big part of its appeal. The bones and the shape were already there and we extended it, reconfigured the layout and updated the materials.
“We knew it was going to be a heavily clad project because it was the perfect style of house to handle a lot of cladding and mixed materials.”
Linea is a popular choice for renovators seeking to retain a traditional look without the maintenance hassles of timber.
“That’s what’s absolutely fantastic about this product,” Taylor says.
“You get the beautiful look of timber cladding but with all the benefits of fibre cement – it’s rot proof, warp proof, it won’t split or fade, it’s fire resistant and water resistant. It’s a strong durable product that looks so beautiful.”
Somethign old, something new
A modern extension at the rear of the cottage represented a creative challenge for the Birds.
“We chose to mix things up, materials-wise, to signal the difference between the old and new,” Taylor says.
“We did this by using Scyon™ Stria™ cladding, installed vertically, instead of horizontally, for the extension. Painted in dark charcoal, it gave a real contemporary effect.”
Rather than trying to conceal the transition between traditional and modern, the blend of Scyon Walls materials highlights and celebrates the difference.
“We wanted to create a contrast which made the extension really ‘pop’,” Taylor says.
“The juxtaposition of the modern addition and the traditional cottage is just stunning. We used the HardieDeck™ to connect the two areas because the planks have black edging which links with the dark colour of the extension and creates a ‘bridge’ to the rest of the home.
“It wasn’t something that we had tried before but it’s come together even better than we hoped.”
Inside the cottage, Scyon™ Axon™ cladding has been used to stylish effect in the bedrooms and around a picture window in the new living area. Painted white, the latter draws the eye, without detracting from the garden view, or creating an overly busy feel.
“It just added a beautiful touch to that window,” Taylor says.
Scyon Walls has proved a winner with the Three Birds’ project team, for practical as well as aesthetic reasons. Scyon Linea boards can typically be installed around 30 per cent faster than traditional timber weatherboards; a welcome time and money saver for most renovators.
“We’re always working against the clock and trying to renovate our properties as fast as possible – on average we turn our houses around in about 7 weeks – and our builders tell us the products are pretty quick to put in,” Taylor says.
“We never hear any complaints when we ask them to install the Scyon!”
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
As happy purchasers settle into the Baulkham Hills home, the Birds are preparing to turn their attentions to their next project which will be different to anything they’ve done before.
Will Scyon Walls feature in the planning process? Without doubt, Taylor says.
“It’s always difficult until we see the next project, to know exactly what we’re going to do with it but we always look for opportunities to use Scyon cladding, because it makes such a lovely feature in a house.”