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Read the ambitious story of Catherine Heraghty who decided to knock down her existing home and build a new two-house duplex (one of which would become an investment property) in just 12 weeks!

Building a forever home requires a lot of thought and preparation. Now, imagine the planning and preparation required if you were building your forever home in just 12 weeks! That’s exactly what Catherine Heraghty, interior designer and owner/creative director of The Stables, and her family did when they decided to knock down their existing home and build a new two-house duplex (one of which would become an investment property) in its place. Here, she shares the story behind her new home.

A knockdown rebuild

“We lived in a seventy-year-old two-bedroom home and wanted to expand our family,” says Heraghty of her motivation to rebuild their family home in the Sydney suburb of Caringbah.

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The outcome of this whirlwind 12-week renovation is a modern-coastal duplex with some serious street appeal!

“We knew it would be very difficult to renovate a house like ours, so the decision was made to develop the block we lived on with our builder Future Flip. We would gain the extra bedroom we needed, upgrade our home and space for about the same price as a renovation once we sold the investment property next door.”

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Work began in February of this year and ended in May. During which, the existing house was knocked down and two houses built on the 500m2 block. Each has two levels, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an outdoor entertaining area.

The modern-coastal look

Heraghty says they wanted their new home’s exterior to stand out and be a cross between coastal and modern. “We wanted something striking! We live in an area where there are a handful of duplexes in every street. There is so much development and we felt that there was a lot of the same architecture being put up, so it was very important that ours stood out amongst the crowd.”

They also wanted the extra space for the interior, while ensuring it remained consistent with the exterior of the houses. “As an interior designer, it was really important to me that the look flowed from the outside through to the inside.”

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Choosing contemporary materials

James Hardie™ products were central to creating Heraghty’s desired look with both houses being clad entirely in the Scyon Walls™ range from James Hardie. “We used Axon™ cladding around the bottom floor of the house to create a very sleek and contemporary feel. We used Linea™ Weatherboard upstairs to give the build a coastal weatherboard feel and we chose to paint the Linea Weatherboard in white for a more classic look. Together, the Axon and the Linea sit really well! I love that the exterior of our home has a nice balance of contemporary and coastal.”

Describing her personal style as “quite welcoming”, Heraghty says while the exterior of the duplexes are quite modern and sleek she was able to make them feel warmer with the use of Stria™ cladding around for the houses’ party walls and Linea Weatherboard on the top level.

“Having the look of the Linea Weatherboard really gave the exterior some much-needed texture and really softened the look. It was so important to me that the home did not feel too cold seeing as we were using a lot of darker colours! Internally, the architecture was quite minimal but again I was able to soften this up with the use of warmer colour palettes and textured finishes making the home feel friendly and inviting.”

The building process

Heraghty says the three biggest lessons she learnt from the project were the importance of creating a concept and sticking to it, aligning yourself with experts in the field, and working with a great builder.

“Having a builder that is passionate about their work and willing to try new things and step outside the square is a must. Neil [Hipwell] from Future Flip was amazing every step along the way. He was always coming up with solutions and was excited to try new things!”

“We used Axon™ cladding around the bottom floor of the house to create a very sleek and contemporary feel. We used Linea™ Weatherboard upstairs to give the build a coastal weatherboard feel and we chose to paint the Linea Weatherboard in white for a more classic look. Together, the Axon and the Linea sit really well! I love that the exterior of our home has a nice balance of contemporary and coastal.”

The integrity of the materials was also of high importance. “Aesthetically we felt that the Scyon Walls range from James Hardie were far superior products – there are some beautiful profiles to choose from and we managed to get them all on our house! The fact that the cladding is made from fibre cement sheeting means that its durability cannot be beaten, we know it’s going to stand the test of time!”

A family forever home

With the project now complete and the family settled into their new home, Heraghty says they are really looking forward to spending their first summer in it.

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Catherine says she is looking forward to enjoying the house with her family.

“We have lots of beautiful large windows, which we have not been able to really use yet! I can’t wait to have the large sliding doors open on hot summer nights while we watch TV. That is going to be such a luxury. I am also really looking forward to having lunches out on the deck in summer, as we never had an outdoor area, the best we could do was throw a picnic blanket down so enjoying the outside in a real entertaining area is going to be a real luxury for us!”

Fact File

Linea weatherboard 180mm
Axon cladding 133mm
Stria cladding
Cladding colours: Dulux Monument and Lexicon Quarter


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