A dreamy renovation in Manly

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When Tim Macdermid and Susie Musgrave bought a charming 100 year old semi-detached home in magical Manly 25 years ago, they knew this would be their forever home.

But, being sun-seekers and needing extra space, they also knew they needed to bring in experts to open up the small, dark spaces to let the light in. That’s what Playoust Churcher gave them… and more.


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When Tim Macdermid and Susie Musgrave bought a charming 100 year old semi-detached home in magical Manly 25 years ago, they knew this would be their forever home.

But, being sun-seekers and needing extra space, they also knew they needed to bring in experts to open up the small, dark spaces to let the light in. That’s what Playoust Churcher gave them… and more.


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Ready for a massive change

What used to be a dark, poorly maintained semi-detached home in the magical suburb of Manly, is now a light-filled haven with enough space for hours of entertainment.

Tim and Susie are adventurers at heart. With their innate love for travelling and spending time on the water, they’ve grown accustomed to living in multiple locations.


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Ready for a massive change

What used to be a dark, poorly maintained semi-detached home in the magical suburb of Manly, is now a light-filled haven with enough space for hours of entertainment.

Tim and Susie are adventurers at heart. With their innate love for travelling and spending time on the water, they’ve grown accustomed to living in multiple locations.


But one thing has always remained steadfast – their home in an exquisite street in Manly. Twenty five years since buying the property and it undergoing sporadic renovations, they were recently ready to give the home its final zoosh – to add light and space… and personalise it to fit their every need.

Renovations took a few months to complete, and the home was move-in ready by 20 October 2020.

The accuracy of the initial hand sketches is testament to the Playoust Churcher’s trusted architectural process.

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Significant home changes to fit their lifestyle

The original home certainly had some heritage charm to it, with beautiful detailing like rosettes on the ceiling and a Victorian fireplace. But true to the traditional style of semi-detached homes from the early 1900s, the house welcomed its visitors with a long, dark hallway, connecting a series of small rooms and sectioned-off living spaces from east to west.

With Tim and Susie’s vision, and Playoust Churcher’s unparalleled expertise, their home now proudly showcases the addition of bright living areas on the ground level and an entire new first floor.


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Significant home changes to fit their lifestyle

The original home certainly had some heritage charm to it, with beautiful detailing like rosettes on the ceiling and a Victorian fireplace. But true to the traditional style of semi-detached homes from the early 1900s, the house welcomed its visitors with a long, dark hallway, connecting a series of small rooms and sectioned-off living spaces from east to west.

With Tim and Susie’s vision, and Playoust Churcher’s unparalleled expertise, their home now proudly showcases the addition of bright living areas on the ground level and an entire new first floor.


On the ground level, the front two bedrooms remain the same – true to the old generation style. From the natural break created by the second bedroom, it opens up into a hugely bright area, with light pouring in from three large panel louvre windows facing north.

The newly built first floor boasts a master suite, a large robe, an en suite bathroom and sitting area. Off the sitting area is a beautiful, light-filled stairwell, which looks out onto a charming roof garden.

Tim and Susie couldn’t be happier with how their new home makes them feel. “There’s a large, three metre high sliding door that opens into the huge living area. The large louvre windows allow light to pour straight into the main part of the house, which is absolutely breathtaking.

We’ve got the east-facing kitchen, dining area, lounge and living space that opens up onto a big deck through concertina style doors. There’s now a giant island in the middle of the kitchen, which is great for entertaining,” explains Tim.

The previous decor and colour scheme, characterised by pine wood and yellow tones, is now white and bright. “Playoust Churcher took a lot of care in choosing tiles, doors, floor coverings and paint that would add to the overall aesthetic that we were after. Whenever we veered off track with other ideas, Brett gently guided us back with suggestions that would achieve the look and feel that we initially decided on,” says Tim.

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Careful considerations

Together with Playoust Churcher, Tim and Susie had to carefully consider how the renovations would affect their neighbours.

Luckily, it worked out well because the neighbours also renovated their home at the same time. “We had to work out how to deal with the central wall and accompanying privacy issues, which can be a challenge in some cases. But everything fell into place without major problems,” says Playoust Churcher architect, Brett Churcher.

“It was great. Playoust Churcher worked together with our neighbours’ architects to ensure the process ran smoothly, which is going above and beyond,” says Tim.


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Careful considerations

Together with Playoust Churcher, Tim and Susie had to carefully consider how the renovations would affect their neighbours.

Luckily, it worked out well because the neighbours also renovated their home at the same time. “We had to work out how to deal with the central wall and accompanying privacy issues, which can be a challenge in some cases. But everything fell into place without major problems,” says Playoust Churcher architect, Brett Churcher.

“It was great. Playoust Churcher worked together with our neighbours’ architects to ensure the process ran smoothly, which is going above and beyond,” says Tim.


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The dream partnership

If you ask Tim and Susie about their experience in tackling a renovation project of this scale, they’ll tell you about the four main areas of priceless value Playoust Churcher provided:

1. Impeccable detail in the design phase

“Earlier on, we had seen a house we really liked the look of, so we took John – the Playoust Churcher architect at the time – there. He immediately recognised the type of design style and took inspiration from it. He talked us through the design concept that really spoke to us, and took us through every element of it. It’s really an intriguing process.

We knew some of what we wanted, but didn’t know what exactly the outcome would be. When we proposed elements that wouldn’t work, they gently pushed back, but always made an effort to include everything we wanted. We ended up with a brilliant infrastructure that could be changed again in ten years’ time if we wanted.”


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The dream partnership

If you ask Tim and Susie about their experience in tackling a renovation project of this scale, they’ll tell you about the four main areas of priceless value Playoust Churcher provided:

1. Impeccable detail in the design phase

“Earlier on, we had seen a house we really liked the look of, so we took John – the Playoust Churcher architect at the time – there. He immediately recognised the type of design style and took inspiration from it. He talked us through the design concept that really spoke to us, and took us through every element of it. It’s really an intriguing process.

We knew some of what we wanted, but didn’t know what exactly the outcome would be. When we proposed elements that wouldn’t work, they gently pushed back, but always made an effort to include everything we wanted. We ended up with a brilliant infrastructure that could be changed again in ten years’ time if we wanted.”


2. The move from design to a detailed plan

“Creating a detailed plan from the initial design sketches is such an interesting process. We still felt heard every step of the way. Playoust Churcher continued to ask questions about what we wanted and how we felt about certain decisions. A lot of the detail was presented to the builder, which saved so much time. I could see how closely the builder and our architect worked together, which was great.”

3. Getting council approval

“John spoke to council on our behalf. I can’t tell you how easy that made things for us. He navigated the entire communication process and considered everyone. Our neighbours are important to us, and John gently led the process to make sure everyone involved was happy – which got the plans through council easily.”

4. Managing the build

“I can appreciate that this is a very important stage, and John – together with Ken van Brandwijk – handled each step in the building process expertly. There were no hiccups. The result was a happy client and a happy builder!”

Brett Churcher, Playoust Churcher architect, reiterates the importance of the detailed design process in any home renovation project. “Drawings aren’t set and forget. The design process is dynamic. It’s a team effort. If you try to document every bit of detail, you won’t start building. Unforeseen events come up and clients sometimes change their minds. As architects, we manage each moving part of the design process – to the very end. We’re not finished until you’re finished.”

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Waking up with a smile

During the eight month renovation project, Tim and Susie had peace of mind that their significant home investment was in good hands.

“We knew we could trust Playoust Churcher. We communicated with them regularly. We sat in meetings to discuss important issues and talked to them about the best plan going forward,” says Susie.

“Now, we wake up every morning with the sun pouring into our beautiful bedroom.


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Waking up with a smile

During the eight month renovation project, Tim and Susie had peace of mind that their significant home investment was in good hands.

“We knew we could trust Playoust Churcher. We communicated with them regularly. We sat in meetings to discuss important issues and talked to them about the best plan going forward,” says Susie.

“Now, we wake up every morning with the sun pouring into our beautiful bedroom.


Every day is so wonderful. It’s designed in such a way that fits our lifestyle perfectly. The way the breeze blows through our room… it’s always cool – downstairs and upstairs. And in winter, the cleverly designed spaces allow every bit of sun to pour into the house.

We’re fortunate enough to have a boat, so we spend a lot of time on the water. But these days, we find ourselves missing our home the minute we’re gone!”

At Playoust Churcher, we understand the importance of achieving the perfect balance between beauty and functionality. Contact us today to talk about your upcoming renovation project.

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