Posts by Michelle Walker

Architectural Renovation: When Opportunity meets Planning

Are you feeling inundated with short-term economic news that’s casting a shadow of uncertainty over your long term plans for an architectural renovation? 

This quote is a great reminder that enduring success (aka “good fortune”) is often the result of perseverance and long term vision.

If you are contemplating an architectural renovation or build of your future home, now is a great time to make a start.

Lets us help you embrace the future with determination, and plan for that future with a vision crafted by MWa. 

A great project often takes two years to incubate, document and construct.  Where do you see yourself in 2024 & 2025?  The second half of 2023 is your opportunity to start turning those thoughts into a reality.

We believe that construction will remain incredibly busy up til the end of the year, however our opinion is that the next few years will be a more competitive market.  How well placed are you, to seize this opportunity? 

Instead of being disheartened by short-term challenges, let’s use this time to refine our ideas, explore innovative design concepts and engage in constructive discussions about architectural renovations.

At MWa, we remain committed to assisting you in turning your dreams into tangible structures that stand the test of time.  We firmly believe that architecture is not merely about constructing buildings; it is about creating spaces that inspire, comfort and uplift those who inhabit them.

So, let us  stay focused on the future we envision, knowing that good fortune will indeed smile upon us when we combine opportunity with planning.  Together, we can navigate these uncertain waters and emerge stronger, with beautifully renovated home and thoughtfully created new constructions that reflect the resilience of our shared vision.

Contact us for a constructive discussion.  Good design starts with a good conversation.

Michelle & Danielle

contact us via our website, via email or call 0410 881 110.

Australian Georgian Renovation in Pymble: “Tynecool”

 

Australian Georgian Renovation in Pymble, “Tynecool” is a gem in the heart of Ku-ring-gai Council area, and is being lovingly extended and renovated by its new family. 

The “West Wing” replaces an old single storey addition with a new generous two storey wing.  It creates a north facing courtyard between the existing dwelling and the new addition, which will feature a large stone clad outdoor wood fire and chimney.  The new wing will also feature fabulous new living areas which open up to the courtyard to the front and garden and pool to the rear.

The home will feature a new office with views over the property in both directions, two new bedrooms & bathrooms, a new laundry & mud room, and a  new kitchen / pantry / drinks bar to serve the formal dining room and the new outdoor living space.

With save the date invitations already issued for a Christmas party in December, the house will be ready, dressed with its lipstick on (think new roof and exterior paint job) and glowing with bling (think london pink marble, emerald haze quartzite and miami pastels). 

With a new covered outdoor living area between the house and the pool, and the fit out of the pool side cabana, Tynecool is destined to become the perfect party house, and a great example of an Australian Georgian Renovation in Pymble

Tynecool’s DA was approved within three months by Ku-ring-gai Council.

Senior Development Assessment Office of Ku-ring-gai Council has this great feedback on MWa’s DA submission:

“I would like to take this opportunity to comment on the quality of the plans and documents submitted with the application as well as the professionalism and assistance provided by Michelle Walker Architects. 

The level of detail they provided with the additional information was quite simply some of the best I have seen. 

I have no doubt that the future home will be an amazing place to live.  Good luck with the build!“

If you are contemplating an architectural renovation in Pymble, or in Ku-ring-gai Council, Willougby Council, North Sydney Council, Mosman Council or Northern Beaches Council area, contact us for a constructive discussion.  Good design starts with a good conversation.

Michelle & Danielle

contact us via our website, via email or call 0410 881 110.

 

Sign a Buidling Contract with Confidence, Transparency and Trust

 

 

residential building contracts

MWa help clients to sign their residential building contract with confidence, transparency and trust. 

As residential architects, we assist our clients at each step of the way, with advice and management, throughout all stages of the design, approvals, documentation, tendering and construction process.

Signing a residential building contract in NSW is a significant project milestone.  It represents the culmination of a significant amount of work and preparation.

ENTERING INTO A BUILDING CONTRACT

Entering into a residential building contract in NSW can only be done when you are ready to commit to construction.  It comes after going through the following project stages:

  • Stage 1 Sketch Design: a design process to confirm what you are going to build
  • Stage 2 Approvals: an approval process to gain the required statutory approval process (ie from Council or an Independent Certifier here in NSW)
  • Stage 3: Documentation, Tender, Contract Signing and Construction Certificate –  a documentation process to design the project in detail, ready for construction and competitive tender, tender process, assessment
  • Stage 4: Construction On-site

WHAT IS AN ABIC CONTRACT

As a NSW registered architect by the NSW Board of Architects, we are qualified and insured to administer building contracts.  In particular, architects have a role to administer the Australian Buidling Codes Board – ABIC building contract NSW. 

The ABIC building contract provides significant protection to the Owner, as it includes defined contract terms such as:

  • the contract sum as a fixed lump sum
  • the date for practical completion
  • a mechanism for liquidated damages, specified as a $ value per calendar day that the project extends beyond the approved date for practical completion
  • a mechanism for a retention sum, as security over the works
  • procedures for paying the builder ie: progress claims by the builder for works completed – to be certified by the architect
  • procedures for variations to the contract ie: changes in scope of work that change the total cost of works or the time to complete the project

HOW DOES MWA ASSIST CLIENTS WITH TENDERING AND THEIR BUILDING CONTRACT?

Aside from the particulars of a building contract, MWa’s  approach to tendering and negotiating a contract is:

  • to gather as much information as possible from the tender process
  • seek input from the preferred builder to identify risks, likely outcomes or scenarios, so that issues are identified and discussed together, before entering into a contract – it assists all involved get a feel for the relationships, attitudes, expectations and what it will be like working together during construction, and working collaboratively to resolve issues as they arise.
  • negotiate contract terms and details with full transparency, so that all issues are raised with owner and contractor alike and
  • review the terms of the contract with the owner and contractor, so that rights and obligations are understood by both parties – often the contractor has experience with contracts but they are new to the owner

At the end of the day, a contractural arrangement is about relationships.   The spirit of co-operative contracting is essential for a successful project for all parties.

If you are considering a renovation or new build please talktous@mwarchitects.net.au or via out website www.mwarchitects.net.au.

CLIENT TESTIMONITALS: 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?

 

Reece & Amanda, Cammeray, end 2021 

“We’re so pleased to have used MWA for our interior renovation. It really took away the ‘pain’ and uncertainty of planning and executing what appeared to be a relatively simple procedure but the reality was a more complex task at hand. This is where Michelle and her colleagues step in with their experience. 

The design was always sympathetic to our Federation home, and in making stylish yet practical adjustments.  MWA also had many great suggestions for suppliers and design options, along with invaluable guidance on decision making. 

Michelle and Danielle were so lovely and easy to work with, and good communicators with prompt response times. 

We love our new home, and are grateful for what it gives us every day – a joy to live in!

Thank you!”

 

Maggie in Wahroonga, end 2020

“Every time when people asked me about my on-going big renovation and extension project, they were so surprised why I was relaxed and stress-free. I told them that how wonderful Michelle Walker Architects helped me. I had recommended Michelle to my friends and neighbours and now to you.

My house is in a conservation area and it was old and un-functional. Many people told me it will be difficult to make change in conservation area plus in Ku-ring-gai council plus I speak English as second language. I was hesitating either improving my house or giving up until first meeting with Michelle. All the fears were dispelled as she is so thoughtful, creative, attentive and professional. 

Michelle and the team helped me step by step, from initial sketch design, DA approval, documentation to service during construction. I must highlight following excellent services and supports Michelle Walker Architects provided me:

  • Smart design to create a huge outdoor covered entertainment space, upstairs add 2 bedrooms. All new parts perfectly match the old house external style.
  • Modern classic styled internal design, functional approach to suit up-to-date living.
  • Help to get DA approval extremely quickly.
  • Recommended professional and reliable consultants.
  • Recommend dependable builder who runs the project smoothly and on time, definitely no trouble at all.
  • Recommend extraordinary suppliers to help buying scheduled items.
  • Great service during construction.
  • Achieved all effect, timing and budget goals in every stage.

I am delighted to recommend Michelle Walker Architects to anyone who need architecture direction to build your dream home.”

每当有人问起我正在进行的改造加建工程时, 他们都很惊讶为什么我很放松和无压力。 我告诉他们Michelle Walker Architects是如何极好地帮助了我。 我已经向朋友和邻居推荐了Michelle, 现在我要把她推荐给你们。

我的房子在一个保护区内,它很旧和缺乏功能性。很多人告诉我在保护区进行改造是一件非常困难的事情,再加上我在Ku-ring-gai Council,而且英语是我的第二语言。我非常犹豫到底是要改进我的房子还是放弃算了,直到我和Michelle第一次见面。我所有的顾虑都消除了,因为她非常的有想法,有创意,很体贴和专业。

Michelle和团队一步步地帮助我,从最开始的草图设计,规划通过,详细施工图设计, 直到修建过程中的服务。我必须重点强调从Michelle那里获得的卓越服务和支持,如下:

  • 非常聪明的设计,创造了一个很大的户外遮挡的休闲招待空间。楼上加了2个卧室。所有新建的部分和旧房屋外立面风格完美契合。
  • 内部设计采用偏现代的典雅风格,而功能性又满足时新的生活需求。
  • 超乎寻常地迅速地帮助我获得了规划通过。
  • 推荐了专业和值得信耐的顾问团队。
  • 推荐了可靠的建筑公司,他们把这个项目进行的非常顺利和准时。这个过程中完全没有任何麻烦。
  • 推荐了非常不错的供应商资源,帮助我采购业主提供的材料和物品。
  • 在施工过程中非常好的服务。
  • 在每一步都成功达到了设定的目标,包括效果,时效和预算。

我非常荣幸地推荐Michelle Walker Architects作为你们建设理想家园的设计指引。

 

Eve & Brad in Fairlight, 2019

“I would recommend Michelle Walker Architects.

We had a very difficult project, making a one story federation house, into a two story federation house.  The end product looks very authentic.

We also added a modern big living room at the rear.  The house has a lot of character and detailing.  Upstairs we have done a period ceiling in the upstairs living room with picture rails.  Downstairs we have a high north facing window to capture the light, while the property is positioned from east to west.  The lighting and pelmet in the rear living room also complete the room with polished concrete floor.

We are happy clients.”

 

Louise & Richard in Allambie, 2020

“Michelle and her team helped us realise our dream home extension, including an outdoor room.  We especially love that she convinced us about having more sun/rain protection than we thought we’d need- she was right all along.  The result was a practical and designer look extension that we could not have achieved without her guidance and knowledge.

Most importantly, we love using the space – it brings us joy every day.”

 

Penny in Pymble 2017 (now a repeat client with a new addition & renovation of a new Pymble home in 2022)

“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 2017/2018

“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 2017/2018

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

Services:

  • 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 2018

“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 – 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.”

 

A Builder’s Perspective

Darren Hall, Director / Builder, Pride and Passion pty ltd

“With over 14 yrs working in the construction industry, 6 of which I have managed and run my own residential construction company, I’ve had  the opportunity to work on many projects ranging from $100k projects to multi million dollar renovations and new builds.  No matter the project there has always been a common theme that heavily affects cost and the overall running of the project which all stem from the planning process.

Whether the client has appointed a draftsman to save money or an Architect has only done half a job, a lack of detailed plans and documentation usually results in variation and extended build times.

Renovating a home is highly technical with every project being unique and every individual aspect affecting the whole. Changing things alongs the way can affect the cost of many other aspects of the project, not just the specific variation so it is very important to stick to the original plan.

When a builder is presented with limited documentation and plans they have no choice but to either inflate their prices to allow for uncertainties or to issue an incomplete quote with a load of exclusions which will certainly lead to unexpected costs throughout the build.

Lack of planning can also lead to unexpected design issues where certain aspects just don’t work in reality the way they have been drawn. This results in delays, extensions in build time and sometimes in serious cases suspension of works while the design issue is being resolved. The client, builder and architect then need to come up with a solution on the fly which can some times compromise the whole project.

For most of my career I believed this was just that the way it was, that these issues were normal.

That was until 2017 when I was given the opportunity to tender a project for Michelle Walker Architects.

Never have I been given a more detailed and completed set of drawing to work with, it was such a breath of fresh air! This meant that I was able to issue a comprehensive and accurate quotation with no exclusions and no inflated allowances.

Contract value was approximately $1m with a build time of 6 months. The project ran like clock work from start to finish with only minor delays due to weather and one unexpected variation relating to excess soil being removed from site during the excavation. This could not have happened without the amazing work Michelle and her team put into the planning of this project.

I believe it is possible for a builder to produce an amazing product on time and on budget. But in order to do that the builder must have a clear vision of the whole project from the beginning. To date, Michelle Walker Architects have been the only architects that have being able to give me that vision and ability to achieve those three very important goals for all construction projects. 

As an Architect, their service is the best I have ever worked with in every aspect, I sincerely mean that.

I would be more then happy to take calls and answer any question you may have.”

Darren Hall

Director/Builder

Pride and Passion pty ltd

0422 268 208

Collaboration & Vision: Three Years in the Making

 

Collaboration & Vision: Three Years in the Making. Working with MWa.

We are delighted to show off a drone video of a current MWa project.  Three years in the making and it’s almost finished.

The project is a family of new agricultural buildings, set into the established landscape of a semi-rural site on Sydney’s northern beaches.

The new buildings are overlooked by an existing dwelling and surrounded by grazing horses, some sheep and an ostentation of peacocks.

The works include internal renovations to the existing family home including a newly located kitchen, with new windows overlooking the site and the new buildings.   The house is also gaining a new outdoor pavilion for outdoor living and a pool renovation.  Still to be completed – the exterior painting of the existing house and the landscaping.

The drone video was commissioned by the roofing company – Bailey Metal Roofing and sent to us from the builder, James Tulloch of JTB Building.

We know it’s special when a sub contractor is proud enough to make a video of their good work!

The agricultural buildings are clad with a structurally insulated panel by Arcpanel used for the walls and the roofing, to ensure the buildings perform well thermally and remain predominantly cool in the summer months.

Collaboration and Vision are the reason behind this project’s success, and are at the heart of how we work at MWa.

Collaboration with the client, who from the outset was committed to finding the right solution for the buildings in the landscape, making sure the new buildings were going to enhance the site, and not detract.  The client who was consistent in their decision making, based on design quality and building craft.

Collaboration with the design consultants such as Peninsula Consulting Engineers  as the structural engineer, to develop the steel portal frame system with metal boxspan  as secondary framing, to support the arcpanel.

Collaboration with the suppliers Arcpanel, to resolve the details on how to use of the panels as walling, for which there were no standard manufacture’s installation details.

Collaboration with the builder, James Tulloch of JTB Building, whose dedication to the pursuit of quality and details has been meticulous and thorough.  With his guidance and collaboration with the sub contractors, such as Bailey Metal Roofing, and the other trades – earthmoving, concrete, steel fabricators, windows & doors, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, painting, joinery – the agricultural buildings have come together as beautiful and elegant structures.

And VISION.  Behind the collaboration, providing leadership and direction, the vision has been clear.

MWa’s design approach = Collaboration and Vision.

 

2020 The Year of Home

 

2020 The Year of Home

Please watch our MWa short video showcasing a collection of built projects and projects on the drawing board from this past year.

A huge thank you to everyone involved in our projects this year: our clients, consultants, builders, trades, suppliers & design colleagues.

 

The year everyone stayed home more.  The year everyone appreciated home more than before.  The year everyone slowed down, to think and plan a way forward.

2020 has been a great year for MWa.

Who knew that we would find ourselves at the end of this strange year,  having been busier than ever?

We have spent the year grateful for our work, for the chance to provide services to our clients and to work with the dedicated consultants, builders and suppliers who make up the MWa network.

We have enjoyed getting on with what we each do best and contributing to the outcomes on-site, in renovating older houses to meet contemporary living standards.

This year’s work took us all across the north side of Sydney, from Manly to Fairlight, Queenscliff, Balgowlah Heights, North Balgowlah, Mosman, Cremorne, Cammeray, Wahroonga, Middle Cove, Terrey Hills and south to  the Wollongong Council area.

We’ve had five projects get to on-site construction this year, with a great line up coming up for next year also.

If you are contemplating making a significant change to your home in 2021, we can help.  Call us on 0421 088 110 to find out more and to book an on-site consultation.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE

&

HERE’S TO A CONSTRUTIVE 2021

MAKE YOUR PLACE

 

MAKE YOUR PLACE with MWa.

Here’s a photograph of me in my favourite place.  (The photo is taken by my friend and neighbour, Marion Wheeler @marionwheelerphoto)

It’s my bedroom and temporary-post-covid-office, and it brings me pleasure every day to use it and be in it, almost all the time of the day and night right now!

What makes it so good and so satisfying?

The room is a soothing place, which feels and looks just right.  It’s generous and well proportioned.  It’s calm.  It’s uncluttered.  And if feels comfortable and pleasant.

Funtionally, the room does many things.  It has a long stone ledge built in across the width of the room, a large picture window, a fireplace, a built in bookshelf, a favourite chair, a soft rug, a place to hang artwork.  And a comfy king bed and a very well used desk.

Spatially, the bedroom opens out onto a private outdoor room, so the room expands, and offers me views when I want them; to the sky, to the porch, the front garden, the front gate and the street.

In terms of amenity and comfort, it has a sliding door to close off noise from the robe and bathroom, and the rest of the noisy family house.  The room can be made dark for sleeping, with internal and external blinds.  It’s private, as the windows are strategically placed to make sure no one sees in while driving down the street, even if all the shutters are open and the blinds are up.  It has louvre windows placed on two sides of the room and a sliding door to the porch on the third side, to capture the predominant south westerly breezes.  And the windows and door have flyscreens, to keep the files and mozzies out.  It has a fireplace for coziness and warmth, and a huge ceiling fan for coolth.

Physically, the room has satisfying and textural materials – oak floor, hardwood expressed beams, white ceiling lining boards, a textured cement render finish to the fireplace.  The internal timbers and stone match the external materials of the home.

Visually, it looks looks right to me, which is incredibly important to my optimum wellbeing, as a predominantly visual person.  The room has some drama, with the dark expressed beams, a vertical masonry chimney breast, a horizontal stone clad ledge, all of which is highlighted at night with lighting.

The room is operable and responsive to changes of use,  the time of day, the weather and the seasons.

I love it and I count myself so lucky to have been able to create this space for myself.  To make this place.

So, all this in one room?

A bedroom is not just a rectangle on a plan.

A good room requires consideration and care in its design.

A good room can be a great place.

What’s your favourite place at your home?

Where do you feel the most at home?

What is that feeling like?

If you don’t yet have a place that feels right, what needs to be done to get there and what’s it worth?

Make your place, with MWa.

Call 0421 088 110 to discuss your project and book an on-site consultation.

IT’S NOT ABOUT STYLE

 

When it comes to residential architecture, I say it’s not about style.

I prefer to use the word character.

The difference is that the character of a building or of a home, can be, just like as in people, individual, authentic and unique.

Style is about something that has been before and has been established by someone else.  The styles we know usually have some great graphic or image which is a typical to that period of time.

The character of your new or renovated home will be the result of many specific factors, and it should be of its time.

Character lets new work be a contemporary solution to suit today’s values, with references to the past.

So don’t get hung up on defining your style before you talk with an architect.  Otherwise you’ll likely be bogged down with words like Hamptons, Classic, Coastal, Contemporary, Minimalist, Mid Century Modern, Federation, Traditional, Art Deco, Arts and Crafts – all of which may just not be relevant and may be a distraction.

All MWa’s projects have a different character, as all have a different sense of place and sense of home.

We make our homes feel like they were always meant to be that way.  

If you like the sound of this, find out more on our website.

Or do it the old fashioned way and pick up the phone and talk to us on 0421 082 110.

No need to talk about style, just talk to us about what you need from your home and what you would like it to feel like.

WHERE ARE WE AT, RIGHT NOW, WITH BUILDING?

residential building & construction

Image taken on-site at a current residential alterations & addition in Sydney’s north – 27.03.20 (photo taken by the foreman and emailed to the MWa office)

Where are we at, right now with building, in Sydney?

I’ve had a couple of calls within the last 24 hours, to tap into a wealth of resources – my good colleagues within the architecture, planning & building industry, to get the lay of the land for this week (start of April 2020).

Where are we at, right now, with building?

And how might the Covid-19 crisis affect our MWa newtork of clients, consultants, builders and trades?

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY GENERALLY

Right now, the construction industry is an essential service and such a significant employer within NSW, that the focus is on keeping workers healthy and safe in their workplaces, so building can continue.

Government, industry and the unions are working together with the common goal of keeping work flowing with health of all as a first priority.  Site specific physical controls like teams / shifts to maintain separation, temperature testing upon arrival at work, and driving to work to reduce public transport and distancing – are just some examples of measures being taken. Overnight, the government has extended potential work hours for some sites to seven days.  The decision regarding closures of construction sites or sectors is with the NSW Dept of Health.

LOCAL BUILDERS AND TRADES

A reminder that all the labour on a building site is local, and as such, 100% handmade & 100% Australian.

Our residential builders are continuing to continue work on residential new builds and alterations and additions, where the home is vacant and is not occupied by the owners.

Our residential builders are still busy with client meetings as calls/skye/zoom, organising their projects, providing advice, costings and tenders – managing for now and planning for the future.

MATERIALS & SUPPLIES

Our residential builders have not yet come across any supply issues.

There is some evidence of the supply chain is being affected on large developments and commercial building sites, but at the moment, this is limited to specific types of items (ie facades).

My inbox is being flooded with updates from residential suppliers that are well stocked, and assuring us of production capacity for products which are made locally.  It’s actually a great reminder to know how much building material and manufacturing is Australian  – from Bluescope Steel, to ArcPanel Structurally Insulated Panels, weatherboard cladding like Weathertex, Intrim Timber Mouldings, to name a few.

Suppliers who have shopfronts are still there, behind the scenes, assisting and taking orders.  Suppliers who provide design & specification & shop drawings are still doing so.

DESIGN CONSULTANTS

Our design consultants, that includes us as the architects plus our surveyors, stormwater engineer, structural engineer, landscape architect, town planner, independent certifier, BASIX consultants and the list goes on, are all still working, albeit from home offices, keeping a safe distance but staying well connected.

At MWa, we are working now in our “satellite” offices (rather than our “headquarters”), and are continuing to document for the construction, receiving tenders,  marking up joinery shop drawings, assessing progress claims for projects under construction, liaising with consultants, following up with Council on current DAs being assessed, and designing some fine new interiors.  And we just received a Final Occupation Certificate from a Certifier – always a cause for celebration in architecture land.

LOCAL COUNCIL AND DAs

Our local councils are still open for business and accepting Development Applications – and some have brought forward the 1 July 2020 deadline for acceptance of on-line DA submissions, a huge change and step forward for these organisations.  Physical copies of planning documents for public notification are no longer required.

NSW Dept of PLANNING

The NSW Dept of Planning has introduced a raft of new legislation to respond to Covid-19 which includes, among other things,  the extension of work hours on construction sites to accommodate social distancing, the operating hours of home businesses and the definitions of home occupations are relaxed slightly to permit a small number of employees to be part of a home occupation.

CONCLUSION

For us all right now, health and safety is the priority, obviously.

Second to that, economic survival and being able to get on with our jobs is the goal.

Let’s focus on what we can control and work through this together.

Good things take time.  During this crisis, use time productively to design / approve / document your home and takes steps towards  beyond #stayathome.

Talk to us on 0421 088 110.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOME SWEET HOME: Beyond #stayathome

 

Home Sweet Home: Beyond #stayathome

In the past few months here in Australia, the importance of home has come to the fore of our existence, probably as many of us have never experienced.

Through the bushfires, our homes under threat and in some cases lost, to our connections with our physical place in the world (be it our land and our communities), to the collective retreat into our homes for health and safety, our homes are our castles.

If we didn’t already value our homes enough, maybe our focus moving forward will be more inward, home based and sustainable.

With the health and economic challenges for everyone beyond this crisis, what will this mean for residential architecture?

I predict our homes will have to work harder for us.

Our focus will sharpen as our resources are stretched.

We will be looking for ways to fortify our castle, to protect and to provide for ourselves and our families.

We will want homes which can adapt and respond to changes over time.

We will continue to need more flexibility to work from home.

We will need more capacity for multi generational living, to care for the younger and the older generations of our families.

We will need our homes to provide for us a solution to our affordability crisis, be that more space for multi generational living, flexible use space, a secondary dwelling or a sub division of land.

We will need more sustainable homes in terms of power, energy, water efficiency and productive land.

We will need our homes, as our largest financial assets, to be at their maximum capacity in terms of potential income, value & saleability, in the event it needs to be traded.

We need more comfort at home, in terms of shelter, shade, warmth, sunlight, daylight, inside & outside living and our gardens.

We will need connectivity (digital connectivity as well as transport).

And we will need our neighbours.

This is what good urban design, good neighbourhood planning and good residential architecture is all about.

If you are seeing the future of your home, and would like to move it forward, we can help.

Plan for the future now, beyond #stayathome.

Talk to us on 04221 088 110.