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Architect Client Testimonials: What do our clients say about Michelle Walker architects?

Architect client testimonials:  What do our clients say about Michelle Walker Architects?

We recently asked our current clients for their help in providing their perspective on the benefits of working with an architect and in particular MWa.

We are architects, not marketers, and sometimes its hard to see the forest for the trees.

We can naval gaze and use architect speak, but what do our clients say?

Penny in Pymble 2017 mid construction

“I would recommend, without hesitation, MWa for one key reason above all else – their customer focus and customer service.

Whilst the professional output of MWa was fantastic and clearly all staff knew how to design well and come up with innovative solutions, it was their approach that I found so welcoming.

At all times I was made to feel that it was “my house” with “my design” direction which MWa were then able to interpret and come up with design solutions.  Never once did I feel that an architect “who knows better” had hijacked the design and was taking the project in a direction with which I didn’t feel comfortable.

MWa listened to every single thing I ever mentioned, however small or anecdotal, and then months later would present me with a solution that referred back to something I had said to tie it all in.

Additionally, MWa did not make the process feel out of reach to the lay-person.  At all times they involved me in the project and explained any concepts or processes with which I was unfamiliar.  This gave me the comfort to know that I could ask questions, even silly ones, and seek clarification on any matter.  All the MWa staff were a pleasure to work with (and I miss our design sessions terribly!!)”

Matt in Gordon 2017 mid construction

“My first thoughts are that it has been for us been an incredibly rich and rewarding, and importantly, a very enjoyable journey so far working with MWa to create our dream house. We have loved every second of it and I’m not sure how many renovators can say that!

I would say that the journey has been so enjoyable because we have had the benefit of working with such knowledgeable, personable and dedicated professionals, namely, yourselves.

We did not expect the myriad of issues that come along virtually every step of the way, and having MWa to discuss these issues with and develop a solution that works for all parties has been simply brilliant.

Off the top of my head what has been important to us:

  • the ability at anytime  to call/email to discuss issues that arise, to guide us through the council process, to refer us to other relevant professionals that you know and trust. For example we would never have found Darren without your network.
  • the attention to detail across all areas of the drawings, considering things we simply could not even imagine
  • despite the restrictions of the site, heritage etc, being able to use your expertise and vision to create wonderful solution
  • the ability to visualise the end result via your 3D capabilities has really helped and
  • also the ability to update the drawings as we choose fittings and fixtures

I must say we are very glad we took your advice to continue to work together through the build process, we couldn’t do it without Danielle’s and yourselves guidance buying fittings and making small design changes where required etc. This has been very important to us and really helped take the stress out of choosing so many things and spending so much. And the suggested PC items in your spreadsheet were very helpful.

Overall we cannot highlight enough the benefits of working with an architect, we think it was the best renovation decision we made choosing to work with MWa, I think people who intend to renovate do not realise how an architect’s involvement can transform the experience and end result.

You always hear stories about renovation nightmares but we can honestly say we have loved every step of the journey, even the frustrations from council at times, because we knew we had MWa in our corner to work though the issues and get us there in the end.”

Adelina in Gordon 2017 mid construction

“Benefits of using Michelle and what I’ve loved about working with her so far are:


  • fantastic to have someone so clever with light, space and dimensions – very hard for a mere mortal to conceptualise areas and suitable widths (eg how wide to make a set of stairs, how narrow a corridor is too narrow etc)
  • utilisation of every little nook, thinking of where the power points and data points should go etc.  She’s thought of everything
  • the list of PC items acts as a security blanket/back up plan.  Very well considered, well priced, quality items, totally acceptable and a fall back if we didn’t think of our own substitutes in the meantime (ie peace of mind that all the millions of decisions during the build were manageable).  Also helped us make sure we had the right figure allowed for things outside the builder’s scope.
  • without an architectural spec and drawings, room data sheets that detailed, we couldn’t have had such quality lump sum pricing when we went to market – creates more competition amongst the builders and offers us more confidence that we’ve got the best deal we could.
  • goes the extra distance to communicate the ideas – will produce 3Ds so we understand what we’re looking at.

Smooth running of the business:

  • certainty and predictability around pricing and timing of those costs right from the beginning and all the way through
  • very prompt responses whenever we’ve wanted to contact her/Danielle
  • real listening and taking on ideas and sensitivities.  She gives really honest feedback and discussion on ideas when talking through the concept design and throughout, takes away thoughts and gives a considered response.”

Tamie & Ben in Artarmon 2017 construction about to commence

“MWA have guided me through complex and unchartered waters with regards to building our dream home.

Working as a partnership with MWA has allowed us to end up with plans that are architecturally desirable but deliver on the practical needs of our family and stay true to the character of Ben and I.

The experience has been incredibly seamless, exciting and positively challenging and I have / will continue to recommend MWA because of the partnership experience; the honest communications and the dedication to creating what we (Ben and I) want in our forever home.”

Pete and Rowena in Balgowlah – completed early 2017

“Following the purchase of our Balgowlah home in approx 2012, we contacted local architect Michelle Walker regarding ideas for renovations for kitchen, dining, living, bathroom and outdoor areas.

We were impressed with Michelle’s ideas, subsequent designs which we kept on file for several years.

When we were ready to progress, it was a simple process to re-engage with Michelle. We found Michelle’s office very easy to communicate with, always attentive and timely. Michelle was able to help us with the selection of a builder, recommend fixtures and fittings and always happy to answer queries as the renovations progressed.

The renovations have transformed our home and exceeded our expectations. We highly recommend Michelle Walker architects and look forward to using her business in the future.”

Jane in Mosman 2017 on completion

“Michelle Walker Architects was engaged to assist with the transformation of our home in Mosman – specifically an update to the front door and façade, and the transformation of two dated rear rooms into a functional open plan dining area.

Michelle provided very pragmatic design advice, considering both the local heritage requirements and how we could manage the build through the CDC procedures.

She was also able to recommend excellent builders, who we are also very happy to recommend.

Our renovation has exceeded our expectations – with Michelle’s guidance, we now have a beautiful edgy light filled home, with access and views to our back deck through stunning black steel doors and windows. It has transformed how we live in the space, and it brings us such joy every day returning to our well designed and functional home.”

Tim in Allambie 2017 – a month from completion.

“We are really happy with the look and feel already Michelle.  We will have lots of little things to finish off after we move back in, but it will be just what we hoped for.”

Jasmine in Newtown- on an initial consultation 2015

“Thank you for your practical and honest advice. 60 minutes with you saved us weeks (and weeks) of work”.

Simon in Balgowlah – completed 2015

“Michelle Walker architects have been great to deal with. I’m in the construction industry so I’m a tough customer but I have found they offer the perfect mix of listening to the client while still providing new ideas. We felt that our needs were certainly met but more than that, they were interpreted creatively and provided innovative solutions as well as presenting new ideas to us.

Best of all there is no ego – just a total willingness to provide what you need and realise your vision.

Issues are looked at holistically and for us this means comfort knowing our house will not only be beautiful, it will provide the function our family needs.

The turnaround is also quick, they work with you and at your pace so if you need things fast, they are delivered fast.”

Edwina in Freshwater – completed 2014

“Working with Michelle Walker was great, she translated our ideas into workable solutions. We had been researching our renovation for over a year and had lots of strong ideas about what we wanted from our home.

Michelle and her team really listened to what we wanted and helped facilitate our ideas – but beyond that, they developed new concepts and we ended up with a lot of new features that we had never thought of. We decided to increase the scale of our renovation once we got started.

Renovations are such a huge investment financially and emotionally, and Michelle Walker architects gets that.”

John in Fairlight – completed 2014

“Dealing with Michelle Walker and her team was a very enjoyable experience. Not only are they professional and helpful, they are great at what they do and really listen to what you want. I had total confidence the end result would be wonderful.

I was so comfortable with how the works were going that I went on an overseas holiday for a month while construction took place, knowing they would look after everything.

I really could not have asked for anything more.”

Vanessa in Manly – completed 2014 (repeat client in 2016)

“Michelle Walker architects came up with a wonderful sympathetic design for my beachside home in Manly. With clever use of space and design, she managed to fit in all my room requirements but still accommodated council conservation heritage and DA constraints. I would highly recommend her services.”

Diane in Mosman – completed 2014 (repeat client in 2016)

“Michelle Walker architects were recommended by our builder and were great to deal with. They renovated our 30 year old home with a complete update to modernise it and make it more family-oriented, with significant work internally and externally.

The end result is a modern and functional home that we love.

Standouts for us were that they really listened to what we wanted to achieve and developed ideas that were creative and practical. Michelle Walker was like a breath of fresh air to deal with, very down-to-earth, approachable and enthusiastic about our home”.

Nick & Emma in Paddington 2013

“One of the best things Michelle Walker archtiects did for us was provide ways to unite ideas and make them work”

Jodie in Manly and Gwynneville (Wollongong) – repeat client 2008 & 2010

“We loved working with Michelle Walker architects and have done two projects with them now – an extension to a holiday home and a new build for our family home.

A stand out feature is the attention to detail and precision with which everything is done. These projects were very important to us and it was good to be able to have faith that the work was so thorough and everything was considered.

We also had a lot of ideas about what we wanted and we found Michelle Walker had a great way of introducing new ideas that either enhanced what we were thinking of or pointed us in a completely new direction. Her passion really shines through in her work.

The result speak for themselves, we recently sold our holiday house for a price higher than we expected – and all visitors to our family home talk about what a warm and inviting space it is.”

North Shore Heritage Architecture Pymble

North Shore Heritage Architecture Pymble:  “Covington”

A gem of a project in Pymble, on Sydney’s north shore, has started construction, with the original 1935’s home by a prominent Sydney architects Morrow and Gordon literally untouched.


Heritage Architecture Pymble

Heritage Architecture Pymble


The current owners are the lucky second owners of the special home, and have inherited the original water colour architectural drawings and specification by the architect.

The home was purpose built for the Mr Herriot Esquire, whose initials are carved in the sandstone fireplace surround.

Built at the time of Sydney’s suburbanisation, with the Sydney Harbour Bridge just opened and depression era work gangs constructing new roads, the areas around Pymble were being converted from orchards to family estates and suburban allotments.

Just a block from the train station, the home reflects the aspirations of domestic life at the time.  The house is one of the first to incorporate garaging with a double garage with internal access.

The home features a fine formal entry, living room and dining room, an original butlers pantry with servant bells, kitchen, laundry, maids room and three separate interior wet area rooms – bathroom, shower and WC.  Hydronic heating powered by a coal boiler is plummed throughout the home with decorative brass grills in the formal rooms and wall mounted heaters in the “back of house” areas.

The home has three bedrooms including one in the attic.

Australian Interior Design Awards

Australian Interior Design Awards

Australian Interior Design Awards

MWa have entered The Diamond House, Artarmon, into the 2017 Australian Interior Design Awards.

The home’s interior design reflects the choices and standards of contemporary domestic life.

From a house built in the depression, amidst a materials storage and with an outdoor toilet – to The Diamond House of today, this project is a sensitive adaption of an outdated home and reflects the values, aesthetics and standards of today’s domestic life.

The house balances both traditional and contemporary design influences, in a cohesive interior.

Space standards, bathroom amenity, privacy, indoor/outdoor connection, abundant natural light, control over solar access (blinds and vergola), inbuilt USB ports, garaging, home office nook in the kitchen, rainwater tanks – these are all illustrations of contemporary lifestyle and domestic technology.

The insertion of new bespoke joinery into an existing traditional timber bay window seat in Bed 04 – which can be removed at any stage, and the new contemporary box bay window in Bed 03 – are examples of old to new within the home.

The consistent, fresh and playful use of materials and colour, inside and out, also garnered recognition with a commendation in the Dulux Colour Awards for Residential.

The materials and colours form a palette of Australian hardwood (blackbutt), existing red bricks, new “bowral blue” facebricks, off form concrete, concrete look large format tiles through the home including wet areas, colourbond “monument” to new doors and windows, dulux “whisper white” joinery and trims, and orange features (dulux “coppersmith” front door and cladding, “tangerine” pinboards, orange indoor/outdoor cushions, corten steel landscape features).

The winners are announced 9 June 2017.  For more information about the Awards, click on the following link:

The Australian Interior Design Awards recognise and celebrate interior design excellence via a credible, industry-based program, which is backed by the Design Institute of Australia, the professional body representing Australian designers. The Jury this year are Sonda Banney, Elizabeth Carpenter. Amanda Stanaway, Mark Simpson, Nick Travers, Tony Chenchow, Sophia Leopardi, Fiona Lynch.



This californian bungalow in Balgowlah has been transformed into a contemporary family home with a rear extension and upper floor addition.

The upper floor addition is designed to be a sensitive addition to a typical single storey californian bungalow.  The addition is set back off the street, to the rear of the property and maintains the existing roof pitch and the asymmetrical gables.  Given the sloping site, district views to the north east and a north aspect along the length of the home, a north facing roof garden and rear balcony contribute to a more contemporary rear (southern) and side  (northern) elevation.

From the street the facade was transformed through a selection of paint colours that provide contrast and light, highlighting the traditional detailing. The rear living spaces now open up to the rear yard and new pool, providing views and access to a once overgrown and underutilised backyard.

View more images of Balgowlah House










Architecture Awards for Alterations & Addition – Residential Architecture

Architecture Awards

Architecture Awards

MWa have submitted The Diamond House, Artarmon into the Architecture Awards (2017 Australian Institute of Architecture NSW Houses Awards for Residential Architecture, Alterations & Additions). 

The Diamond House is a revitalised 1920s Californian Bungalow in a heritage conservation area in Artarmon (Willoughby Council), on the north shore of Sydney.

The clients are a tall and sporty family with three teenagers and this is to be their ideal home, next to the station, with a long north aspect.

The brief was for a low maintenance home, with northern sunshine into every room, framed views of greenery, contemporary character and space (with height) for all.

As the new owners, the clients also wanted a single level home which retained the heritage character at the front with contemporary living to the rear. 

Their accommodation brief was for a practical home with three teenager bedrooms conducive to HSC/uni study, and a family bathroom which could be used by all three teenagers at once – with privacy control.

They also needed a main bedroom suite, two living areas, a home office nook, a big kitchen, laundry with a built in ironing board, a covered outside space with bbq, storage, space for their artworks, a low maintenance garden and a garage.

The result is a home with a consistent use of materials and colours – from outside to inside, from front to back, from traditional to contemporary. 

The materials and colours form a palette of Australian hardwood (blackbutt), existing red bricks, new “bowral blue” facebricks, off form concrete, concrete look large format tiles through the home including wet areas, colourbond “monument” to new doors and windows,  dulux “whisper white” joinery and trims, and orange features (dulux “coppersmith” front door and cladding, “tangerine” pinboards, orange indoor/outdoor cushions, corten steel landscape features).

From a house built in the depression, amidst a materials storage and with an outdoor toilet – to The Diamond House of today, this project is a sensitive adaption of an outdated home and reflects the values,  aesthetics and standards of today’s domestic life.

Space standards, bathroom amenity, privacy, indoor/outdoor connection, abundant natural light, control over solar access (blinds and vergola), inbuilt USB ports, garaging, home office nook in the kitchen, rainwater tanks – these are all illustrations of contemporary lifestyle and domestic technology.

The insertion of new bespoke joinery into an existing traditional timber bay window seat in Bed 04 – which can be removed at any stage, and the new contemporary box bay window in Bed 03 – are examples of old to new within the home.

The boldness of the contemporary design, in the interior arrangement of the home, the materials selections and character of the home and its passive solar design principles, within a heritage conservation area and conservative suburban context, is an innovation in residential design itself.

The consistent, fresh and playful use of materials and colour, inside and out, also garnered recognition with a commendation in the Dulux Colour Awards for Residential.

Click here for more information about the Architecture Awards. 

2017 NSW Architecture Awards

Awards are announced 1 July 2017. 

Presented by Houses magazine, the Houses Awards is an annual program celebrating Australia’s best residential projects. Excellence is rewarded in nine categories, with the best house receiving the premier award of Australian House of the Year.  A Houses Award is one of Australia’s most sought-after accolades for residential work.

Each year, the Houses Awards entries provide a unique insight into contemporary residential design and the contribution Australia’s architects and designers make to enhancing the way we live today.

Entries are judged by an eminent panel of architects and designers who are themselves are recognised for creating inspirational Australian homes. The judging process is anonymous, transparent and confidential.


Australian Home Beautiful Before & After Renovation Special: April 2017

Australian Home Beautiful Renovation Special

Australian Home Beautiful Renovation Special

Australian Home Beautiful Before & After Renovation Special:  MWa are delighted to be featured in the special edition of Home Beautiful Magazine’s Before and After Renovation Edition.

Set in bush fire prone land and backing onto bushland, this home is inspired by the materials of Australian rural buildings and its bushland setting.

The home is in a great location, backing on to the bush, in a bush fire zone, lovely northern aspect along its full length so it has great light and sunshine.

Robust materials, joyful outdoor spaces, lots of light, managing the hot sun and making the most of the existing modest home: these are the key considerations of this renovation.

The residential renovation included extensive exterior works with a new pool surround, covered rear deck, new carport, new front porch, new driveway and new landscaping.

The internal works included a new kitchen and a new bedroom – essential living for a family of five, with an in house au pair who makes up the household of six.

The renovations included:

  • relocated new kitchen
  • new covered deck enclosed with operable louvres – a true outdoor room
  • additional kid’s bedroom
  • some new doors and windows to create better connections with garden & bush & outdoor areas
  • complete pool renovation & pool surrounds including outdoor bbq space & outdoor storage
  • new roof, new carport, new outdoor storage areas
  • new front porch, driveway, landscaping

The materials were inspired by Australian rural homes and included:

  • new colourbond roof (which replaced existing older tiled roof), with the edge of the roofing material exposed
  • all external materials are non flammable because of bush fire zoning including
  • expressed australian hardwoods (spotted gum)
  • non flammable fibre cement weatherboards
  • fibre cement lining boards
  • sandstone blocks & sandstone pavers
  • textured washed back concrete with blue metal
  • bold new external colour scheme (monument & orange & white

The use of colours & materials continued inside & out –

– kitchen colours & materirals match external colours

(colourbond monument, dulux antique white & ironbark veneer)

– new fireplace is paved with same sandstone pavers as front porch, new    bookshelves in external grade australian hardwood and back wall in monument.

The renovation took six months to complete, and was approved via NSW Complying Development.

Australian Home Beautiful Renovation Special

Australian Home Beautiful Renovation Special

Complying Development: NSW Department of Planning & Environment

MWa appears in the new Complying Development brochures and marketing material by the NSW Department of Planning & Environment for COMPLYING DEVELOPMENT and EXEMPT DEVELOPMENT.


The NSW Department of Planning and Environment is soon to launch a Simplified Housing Code for NSW, as part of an initiative to provide a simpler, faster and more transparent planning system.  The existing NSW General Housing Code was introduced in 2008.

Complying Development

Complying Development



The Department recently took photos of Michelle’s house, as an example of a residential alteration & addition which was approved using the NSW General Housing Code.   The images of Michelle’s home and family were also used by the Department at their stand at the Royal Easter Show.




At MWa, we have completed 13 projects via the Complying Development Codes in a variety of council areas including Mosman, Manly, Warringah, Wollongong, and Ku ring gai.

We are currently have six projects on the drawing board and two under construction – approved via the Complying Development approval process – which bypass the typical local Council DA approval process, saving significant time and costs.

These projects have included a new two storey home, complete with garage and pool, upper floor additions, ground floor extensions, external covered outdoor spaces, new pools and minor works in heritage conservation areas.  Some categories of bush fire & flood prone land may also be suitable for approval via Complying Development.

At our initial on-site consultations, we discuss what’s possible under these codes and how they may be relevant to your site and home.  Michelle Walker architects can help simplify your renovation process, assisting you to save time and money.

Call us to take the first step in finding our more.

MWa Contact

For further information from the NSW Department of Planning & Environment click on the links below and contact

NSW Planning Complying Development

NSW Planning Exempt Development


Outdoor kitchens – MWa in Home Beautiful

Michelle Walker Architects featured in an article about outdoor kitchens in Home Beautiful magazine. outdoor kitchens outdoor kitchens outdoor kitchens outdoor kitchensoutdoor kitchensoutdoor kitchens

Excerpt from article:

THE BARBECUE IS at the centre of any summer party, where the sizzle of snags forms an ambient background to repartee and good fun. But if you’re missing punchlines every time you have to duck inside for the olive oil, it might be worth expanding your basic barbecue into an outdoor kitchen. And it’s not as extravagant as you might think. More and more, we’re living, lounging and entertaining outside, so it makes sense to make those outdoor spaces as functional as possible.

“Having your barbecue in close proximity to the house means you may need fewer outdoor kitchen appliances” ~ Michelle Walker, MWa

Choosing appliances and fixtures requires you to get real about how you live. “A pizza oven is a great idea, but they are expensive and take up a lot of space,” says Josh. For most, the essentials include a barbecue, fridge, storage and bench space, while
a sink is another nice-to-have. If space isn’t an issue, there are many inclusions to play with. “A fireplace, wok burner, extractor fans, heating, speakers and rotisserie,” lists architect Michelle Walker of MWa. “We haven’t done a project with an outdoor TV, but clients joke about how good this would be!” Don’t just rely on a brisk breeze to clear away smoke and steam: if your kitchen is undercover – even if it has open sides – you’ll need to look into a rangehood. Crucially, all appliances must be designed for exterior use, even if they will be undercover.

Home Beautiful Magazine



MWa on Sky News – Best of Houzz 2017

Best of Houzz 2017 Winner

For a look at Michelle Walker’s winning deck in this year’s Best of Houzz design awards skip ahead on the video to minute 9.


This is MWa’s 5th win in a row.

Coastal Architecture Outdoor Living

Outdoor living - coastal style

Michelle Walker Architects feature on a promotional video and article on Coastal architecture and outdoor living on

Excepts from the article:

” For homes situated between beach and bush, maximising the indoor-outdoor flow is essential. We meet one renovator who has aced modern outdoor living.

When architect and mother of three boys Michelle Walker was looking to renovate her Manly Vale home, she wanted to create “a modern coastal home”, with living spaces that flowed easily between indoors and outdoors.

“We’re a family of surfers – my three boys and my husband all surf. For us it’s about all our living spaces opening up to the outdoors,” Walker says.

The Walkers are the third owners of this Manly Vale home located on Sydney’s northern beaches. Wear and tear over the years meant it was time to renovate, but there were a few key considerations when it came to the makeover as the home straddles both a coastal and bush setting.

The three key considerations for the new design included:

The composition of colours and materials had to fit in with the bush setting
Materials had to be non-flammable to comply with the bushfire rating
The house needed to have a good indoor-outdoor flow for the outdoorsy family.
Walker says she chose Scyon Linea weatherboards for the outdoor deck and extension as they met all the build criteria.

Traditional weatherboards are made from timber, but Linea weatherboards are made from a mix of sand, cement and wood pulp, making them bushfire resistant, as well as resistant todamage from termites and moisture.”

Click on the link below to find out more: