Lisa is a keen gardener. In fact her passion was so great that she left her career in corporate insolvency to move into landscape design. So when she renovated her 6500m2 estate in St Ives, she started with the garden.
Seven years prior to her 2011 renovation, Lisa designed the boundaries of the gardens striking some 4000 odd plants. And then came the house plans. What was most important for this young family was that the house truly respected the gardens and not the other way around.
Brett Chrucher had initially done a house design for Lisa a few years prior… the family then decided to live overseas for a year so the renovation plans were on hold. Upon their return they met with Brett and John Hooghuis who had since joined the team.
“The design completely changed when we came back. I knew what I wanted but I think with the initial design we were trying to work with the existing footprint… then I think we got a bit braver to expand it. Rather than renovate the existing house, we decided to make it a real investment.”
Once she had a design she was happy with, Lisa found a fabulous builder and they were off and running.
Lisa actually had another architect draw up a design for their home many years prior. The design was lovely… but he just didn’t listen to what Lisa wanted.
“When Brett and John came they just listened. John is so talented that we just trust him. I told John what I wanted to look like and to go for it. John can draw the designs upside down all by hand and you know exactly what he is doing. He is really talented and that was very obvious from the beginning. He is so passionate about what he does.”
From the granular detail of the size of the vacuum cleaner and where it would be stored in the laundry to where the kids would put their bags after school, the Playous Churcher team was across Lisa and her family’s needs.
“They were respectful of costs and they just listened to what we wanted. There is a lot to say for architects that listen. The house works perfectly with our needs – there is a flow that works beautifully”
As with any home builds there were a few hiccups in the renovation of Lisa’s estate… a councillor who expressed concerned about the footprint of the home… asbestos stuck to the concrete in one of the rooms requiring a complex removal project…
But of Brett, John and the Playoust Churcher team, Lisa couldn’t have been happier with the relationship they built and how expertly they handled the hiccups in the journey.
“We never had a point where we thought the team could have handled a situation better. Every weekly site meeting was fun and went smoothly. Every part of the project with them was really pleasant. We were sorry the project had to come to an end as it was so excellent to work with them. They are just lovely people.”
While they were waiting to renovate their estate, Lisa and her husband purchased another home which John and Brett partnered with her on renovating… and more recently Lisa has started working with the team on another project. This is an ongoing relationship built on trust and expertise.
Staying true to Lisa’s roots in the garden, the various living spaces in the home were designed to have a dual garden view. Intimate courtyards and terraces were also added to act as transition spaces between the indoors and outdoors.
Overlooking the blue gum forests of Dalrymple-Hay Nature Reserve and with the spectacular gardens Lisa has worked so hard to grow, this is truly a magnificent estate.
“We decided to get the home valued because it has completely changed with the renovation. It was such a big renovation it may as well have been a complete rebuild. All the agents we have had come through say that it’s the nicest and best quality home they have been to. The feedback from anyone who comes to visit is overwhelmingly positive.”
Sharon and Kwan purchased their 1930s Pymble entertainer home with the aim to renovate. The home had good bones but features such as an external laundry and narrow garage meant that the home needed an upgrade for modern family living.
What used to be a dark, poorly maintained semi-detached home in a beautiful suburb, is now a light-filled haven with space for hours of entertainment. Read more about this home renovation in Manly.
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