When a renovation takes two years to complete and costs a whopping $2.5 million, you know you’re in for a pretty spectacular end result!
Restored by Sukari Design, the 1930s estate in Sydney’s Wahroonga features three dwellings: a main home, a gardener’s cottage and a pool house, alongside horse stables, a swimming pool and a tennis court! And the main home’s far from understated either, with six bedrooms, 10 bathrooms (yes, 10!), three kitchens and a theatre.
However, while the home is a testament to exemplary architecture, prior to its renovation it was a far cry from its glory days. Extremely worn and featuring some rather unsightly green carpets and yellow walls, the home had to be completely gutted. “It was very neglected however the beautiful curved walls, Juliette balconies and domed ceiling in the foyer showed that this home was once amazing and had the potential to be extremely special,” says Joumana Sukari, one half of Sukari Design. “So we completely gutted the home and several walls were removed to allow for an open plan kitchen/family room. Revitalizing the home was a key factor in the clients’ brief.”
With the new owners (who have chosen to remain anonymous) wanting to maintain the integrity and history of the estate, but with a more transitional design style, Joumana and her sister-in-law/co-owner Michelle Sukari created a grand and luxurious home, that they refer to as one of their all time favorite projects.
Yet that doesn’t mean it came easy, with the project seeing some nasty surprises and unexpected expenses pop up along the way. “When the old carpet was removed we discovered that the timber flooring, which we were hoping to retain, was infested with termites,” explains Joumana. “New hardwood timber flooring had to be installed, luckily we had budgeted for unexpected expenses.”
Challenges also came in the form of a rather testing brief, to create 10 different bathroom schemes! “Our clients wanted each bathroom to have its own individual look, so creating 10 schemes that complemented each other but were different was definitely the biggest challenge!”
While the home obviously went through quite the transformation, for Joumana the biggest change came in the form of the new kitchen and the decorative wall mouldings. “The location of the original kitchen and its deteriorated state devalued the home, however the new kitchen is fresh, elegant and sophisticated and has an abundance of natural light. Also the mouldings, architraves and skirting boards all made a huge difference. The walls seemed very bare prior to installing these.”
Undoubtedly a huge project, Joumana learnt some invaluable lessons during the renovation. “Make sure that every aspect of your renovation has been accurately budgeted for and allow for unexpected expenses (such as termites) to appear! Importing products from overseas and dealing with shipping companies, customs brokers and tax law is also a huge learning curve.”
But, when all is said and done, would she and Michelle do it again? “In a heartbeat!”