Melbourne, Australia

Your guide for a successful
renovation extension.

Three quarters of exterior home renovations include extensions. Ground floor extensions are twice as common as upper floor additions.

Why you ask? Upper floor additions are around 25% more expensive per square meter. Additionally, houses being renovated are over 30 years old. They’re on larger blocks with bigger backyards, than homes built now, so they have space to build out.

Buying to renovate. A modern extension can bring a great contemporary lifestyle to a heritage home. The oasis out the back of this 1902 home is a stunning surprise. More about this house.

heritage brick home modern extension sydney drummoyne-jh-axon-cladding

Extending Your Home For Family or Lifestyle.

Adding floor space to a house is done to accommodate a growing family. Or to create a better lifestyle for the home’s owners, whatever their life stage. Home improvement opportunities abound in old homes. Small windows lead to dark interiors and low ventilation. Tiny rooms can be cluttered and claustrophobic. And queues outside a single bathroom are never good.

Careful renovation design can make an old home bright, airy and uncluttered. Clever layouts can be efficient, calming (especially with extra bathrooms) and tailored to the family’s specific needs. Outdated exteriors can be renewed with a fresh new look that’ll be the envy of neighbours.

In the design phase, consider spaces that connect family members. Eat-in kitchens, serveries and alfresco dining areas prompt family and friends to congregate. Hamptons style homes are good at bringing people together. Rethink the new home design trend of having separate living areas that disconnect with your children.

While it’s important not to over-capitalize, you should consider the needs of your family over resale value. Renovate your home so it’s a sanctuary. A safe and warm space to rejuvenate from a busy modern life. Make a place you love to come home to. So when you see it from the street, or look back at it from the yard, you pinch yourself to think it’s yours. Building the same as everyone else can actually hurt the resale value.

Building a two storey extension preserves the heritage home at the front and retains yard space for entertaining. The mix of cladding materials links old and new.

Queenslander cottage modern 2-storey extension toowoomba cladding

Create Your Own Look. One You’ll love.

A recent survey of home owners who were building, or had recently built, said the most important factors were:

  1. The finished look of the home.
  2. Cost of the overall build.
  3. Material that they used.


Renotainment TV shows like The Block combined with an explosion in online information have empowered homeowners to decide how their house should look on the outside and inside. And the products and brands that create that look.

With the benefit of inspirational images, and the right information (which the Create My Look tool assists with) dowdy old brick or weatherboard homes can be renovated into delightful Hamptons-inspired homes or architectural modern masterpieces in a cost-effective manner.

Be bold in creating a vision for your renovation. Collect images you love. But make sure you use them to brief your builder so you get exactly what you envisioned. Only 49% homeowners surveyed said they were completely happy with the end result of their build. Coincidentally, only one in two homeowners their designer or builder with images.

You don’t need to renovate with the same materials your home is built from. There’s a variety of modern building materials, like the James Hardie Scyon cladding products, that provide more options for home improvement.

This heritage home’s sandstone, circa 1900, provides continuity of materials. The open plan light-filled living area and lap pool bring a modern, luxe living style.

Dining Room With Pool View

Renovate or Move House.

Moving is expensive. It can cost 10% of the value of your home thanks to agent commissions, stamp duty and removalists. To make a financial decision, have a real estate agent do an appraisal of your home. Then compare it with surrounding homes. The difference could provide a useful renovation budget without over-capitalizing.

Bonnie of Three Birds Renovations created her Coastal Barn Look from a brick veneer home with extensive termite damage.

Beautiful White House

Renovate or Knock Down and Rebuild.

Is your home a good candidate for a renovation? When Bonnie from Three Birds Renovations tackled her house termite damage to the timber frame meant that only the concrete slab and chimney could be retained. Have a builder inspect your home to ensure it is structurally suitable for a renovation addition.

How many square meters is your extension? Renovations can cost upwards of $3000 per square meter. Whereas a new home can be built by a project home builder efficiently for around $1750 per square meter. So the larger the addition the more enticing the knock down rebuild becomes.

So before you start, talk to an architect or building designer and a builder.

Ready To Start?

Get your renovation off to a good start with this simple questionnaire to accompany your look.