It is always a difficult to modernise an older stately home and still keep all the character and old world charm of the old buildings and their situation, which initially, you fell in love with.
At Trinity Ventures Building Contractors we know the secret is to;
- Identify the parts of the building that are most attractive and need to be conserved.
- Find the other parts of the building that hold no architectural merit at all. These can then be altered or demolished and then replaced with a structure that is not only in keeping with the rest of the building, but offers a new and practical approach to modern services like kitchens and bathrooms .
Most older buildings like ‘Mardah Mia’, in Bowral NSW, were originally built offering beautiful entries, halls, living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms of large proportions, style and grace, but lacked the same style in the bathrooms and kitchens. These areas of the home were normally ‘attached’ to the rear of the main buildings and are normally altered and added to many times over the years in an effort to try and keep the home alive and working.
Over the years many previous owners would attempt to modernise parts of the building that fall into disrepair like timber sash windows, open fireplaces and sometimes parts of the original roofing. Depending on the ‘era’ when these repairs/renovations took place, old timber windows would often be replaced with aluminium, open fires would be covered up and oil heaters would be installed and slate or shingle roofs would be covered up with corrugated metal etc.
At ‘Mardah Mia’, all of the above items were carried out over the last 60+ years to some degree. Therefore we started by demolishing the old rear additions that contained the kitchen and bathrooms as they were in a very poor state of repair . These were replaced with the new rear room (as seen in the photos) containing a new kitchen/family room joining onto the existing building at the same floor level, together with a new main bathroom, powder room, laundry and rear entry with storage areas.
These new home additions were soundly engineered to be strong enough to not only support many new large door openings on two elevations of the new kitchen, but were also used to underpin and support the rear section of the existing structure that needed shoring up.
Old fireplaces were opened up, flue brickwork was repaired and external chimneys were carefully conserved/rebuilt . Two new fireplaces with brick chimneys were added to match existing (as shown on rear photos of the home).
Older double hung , sliding sash windows were repaired with counter weights and sash cords including french doors. Original internal panelled doors were retained and repaired and rehung on new hinges. The old locks and handles were also kept and repaired wherever possible.
Original lime mortar brick walls that were found to be failing, were fitted with new damp courses (to stop rising damp) and were then coated with reinforced cement render which gave the walls a new lease on life saving them from total replacement. Hard plaster/rendered finishes were then installed together with plaster ceilings and cornices , all to match the original.
All new electrical, hot and cold plumbing lines, hydronic central heating and under tile electric heating were installed, which makes the house very warm in our freezing Southern Highlands winters. Insulation was also added to fully cleaned out ceiling spaces, and underfloor insulation was also installed.
Painting has become a very specilised and important part of the process and should not be overlooked or underestimated . Highly competent and well experienced tradesman are needed, as many of the older lead and calcimite based paints need special preparation prior to modern paints being used over the top.
The all new kitchen and vanity cabinetry was custom made in timber to a very high standard using specialist local tradesman and well selected P.C items that matched the time period of when the home was originally built.
The end result is a beautiful period home that has been very well maintained to its complete former glory, but with all the modern services you would expect to find in a modern home. All were very discretely design, selected and installed so as not to be noticeable, but their presence in the form of ultimate comfort and lifestyle is always felt and enjoyed .