Lowline extension…

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General, Sydney House - Original

As mentioned in my earlier post, we’ve been tossing up with the issue of single storey bliss and our floor plan needs as a family.

We’ve spent months going over concepts and options with our patient Architect and along the way we have managed to test the ideas, and throw out the ones which won’t work while incorporating other solutions that we could build ourselves. Yes, I said that. We will be building ourselves, because we simply don’t want to bury ourselves in debt having someone do it for us.

All along we’ve desperately wanted to stay single storey. In the process, 90% of our energies have been spent working on a plan which would achieve it. The plan would have been thus:

  1. Utilise the existing carport structure (white brick) to create our new master bedroom and bathroom, which would in turn allow one of our kids to take over our current room and the other to spread out into the 2 small bedrooms which would then be joined as one larger room.
  2. Add a new living room/family room to the Eastern side of the house, as though it was always there. This is an easy add on because the existing living room has big corner windows which would be opened up to allow entry to another great space.
  3. We’d extend the existing bedrooms as well, with a long sun-room style  shared den which would house a long bench for studying but retain the sanctuary of the bedrooms currently there.
  4. Add a deck and pool, presto.

We really liked this plan. So much so that most of the drawings were underway. We could leave most services in place so as not to cause crazy expenses now, and simply go for the spaces we needed. We even got to 3D modelling stage, oh the bliss of it really….

Screenshot 2015-05-28 21.14.20  Screenshot 2015-05-28 21.14.33

Screenshot 2015-05-28 21.15.08

We loved the connection between the new master bedroom to a courtyard which is existing, which we want to clean up and make into a quiet, zen-like space. And the master bathroom would look out to a lush greenery on the southside, a typically soggy area which we would beautify with a tropical garden which loves water and only a partial sun position. It ticked a lot of boxes. It felt a bit Palm Springs. It was single storey. And we could build it ourselves.

But then this. “Houston we have a problem,” said my husband.

What about the garage?

Our interest in a garage was pragmatic, although most mid century homes had carports, a garage didn’t seem too unreasonable a request. Plus, in our area of Sydney we are plagued by Huntsman spiders. Big bloody hairy and scary things which we have regular run-ins with. Yes, they aren’t deadly. They’re just deadly to look at.

And then there’s the small matter of infestation. Driving along one hot summers day, my daughter and I start yelling at the windscreen as thousands of tiny Huntsmans suddenly appear on the windscreen. On the inside. While driving. We were swatting and screaming, swatting and screaming, swatting and screaming. Upon pulling over the soonest we could, we discovered a nest in the car (somewhere) had randomly exploded due to the summer heat and BAM. All this from not having a garage, sealed from the elements, especially the cob-web forming spiders and the bugs they like to eat. All very melodramatic and confirmation a garage would be essential in the future plan, not just for housing junk and a lawn mower – but actually for the car/s as well.

So, here we were. Perfect “low touch” resolution to our Lowline extension so as not to ruin the original house, but no garage. We looked the front yard. An odd shaped, empty area with a few big trees. Surely we could replicate the carport shape there, and have it look like it’s a garage that was always there, white brick and all ?

Wait, did I say trees? The T-word. The idea of changing, moving or cutting one down is virtually un-mutterable in Kur ring gai Council. Not that we want to lose trees. We LOVE them! The area is close to National Parkland and we have more trees than our fair share in Sydney, it’s truly the green heart of Sydney. Beautiful is not the word. We are so lucky. Very old trees feature at our place, and we wouldn’t dream of changing it. And there in lies the problem. Large ironbark tree sits right in the spot which is the only one available for a garage.

Back to the drawing board we went.

To be continued….

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