Today’s before and after project is brought to us by one of our readers, Ivy Huang, who despite her lack of formal design training has delivered something really special in her newly renovated Melbourne home. With a degree in engineering, and a background in project management, Ivy was experiencing something of a career crisis before quitting her full-time job to give her full attention to this amazing reno.
Sitting on 400 square metres in the Melbourne suburb of Armadale, the Edwardian weatherboard abode needed some serious love when Ivy spotted it back in 2017. “The renovation combined my project management, technical and site experience but with a really awesome element of creativity,” says Ivy who lives in the home with her fiancée Adrian and their rescue dog, Queenie.
“I wanted to create a beautiful, functional family home that would also feel like we were on holidays all the time! I also love entertaining and we receive visitors often, so we really focussed on creating sanctuary-like spaces for bedrooms and bathrooms, and big open shared living areas with an emphasis on natural light and greenery. We leveraged every opportunity for indoor-outdoor spaces too,” says Ivy.
Ivy specified all of the interiors herself and project managed the build using a variety of contractors. Prahran’s Karl Degering & Associates drew up floor plans and assisted with town planning and a variety of other aspects of the renovation, which cost over $600,000 in total and took eight months to complete.
“As a professional project manager in business, I was always going to oversee the build myself. It was only when the project started that I realised how much I was loving the experience and started to think I could this as a full-time thing!” says Ivy who reached out to Buildher Collective! (which aims to support female builders) throughout the build. “It’s a great support network of women who are going through, or have been through similar frustrations, trying to succeed in what is a male-dominated industry,” says Ivy.
As for the renovation, the home now boasts an eye-catching cathedral ceiling, in the kitchen/living room, that echoes the 3.5 metre ceiling heights found in the rest of the home. “That ceiling has got to be one of my favourite features of the house. Walking in, your eyes are immediately drawn upwards and it’s a ‘wow’ moment,” says Ivy of the space that is entirely glass on one side and opens out onto the lush backyard.
The main bathroom is another standout space; it features a black cast iron clawfoot bath centred on French doors that open onto a private jasmine-clad courtyard. “If the living room extension isn’t drama enough, we also wanted to do something a bit special for the main bathroom, which is the one used during the day and by dinner guests,” says Ivy.
Three of the home’s bedrooms also have ensuites and the fourth bedroom doubles as a second living area, depending on whether the couple have guests staying. And as for the home’s location, Ivy had always wanted to restore a heritage house in a blue-chip suburb and Armadale is one of her favourite parts of Melbourne. “It’s got boutique shops and cafes, gorgeous streetscapes and stunning period homes, all without being ostentatious, which I love,” says Ivy who has been seriously bitten by the reno bug and already has her eye on the next one.