Backyard deck and lawn of heritage property home

A charming heritage property in Sydney’s Inner West gets a new lease on life


This charming heritage property has been totally transformed

Having worked closely with the homeowner on multiple projects in the past, designer Mike Cass, founder of mike CASS creative and design it landscapes, relished the opportunity to again join forces. This time the goal was to revitalise, both inside and out, a tired 90-year-old heritage property in Sydney’s Inner West.

“Our shared aim was to redesign and update the home’s interior and exterior spaces while remaining sympathetic to the architecture and surrounding properties. In doing so, we also had to ensure we adhered to the regulations governing the heritage-listed suburb,” says Mike.

“I chose a soft design approach; one that embraces curvaceous lines and takes its inspiration from the time the house was first conceived. There are both formal and informal edges and the proportion of the spaces does much of the talking.”

There are countless ways in which this remodelling project has transformed the property. One involved changing the garage from a four-car structure to a two-car one with a workshop. This enabled design it landscapes to remove a wall so that the space would seamlessly connect to the new pool and spa as well as the pool lounge room.

“The poolside room, which is paved in bluestone, includes a bar, TV and WC, and it has a pontoon deck that connects to the pool,” explains Mike. “There is also a western red cedar-lined ceiling equipped with LED downlights, heating and audio speakers.”

In addition, at the rear of the house, design it landscapes built a raised spotted gum hardwood outdoor dining deck. This is connected to the extended, modernised kitchen via the new steel-framed doors Mike designed for the home.

The large section of driveway in front of the garage also needed to be addressed. Mike used a circular shape to soften its appearance and mimic the circular lawn area. This helps to embed the driveway in the garden while the warm tones of the second-hand common brick paving picks up on the natural hues of the stone garden edging.

“The planting scheme was developed to revitalise the garden while acknowledging the types of plants and planting themes that may have been used when the house was originally designed,” says Mike. “We introduced some simple hedging for framing or as a backdrop, and as the garden design is filled with softened lines and curves, we opted for timeless plants such as Buxus and Raphiolepsis ‘Oriental Pearl’, clipped into neat balls.

“This garden is about rebirth,” Mike continues. “Renovation design is unlike new-build design. Design is not always about the empty canvas. Often, it’s about the synergy between what you had and what you want. Rebuilding and remodelling is about reinvention and this can often lead to more satisfying results than those that can be achieved when working with a blank slate.”

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Design It Landscapes

This project is an entrant in the Outdoor Design 2022 NSW Landscaper of the Year Awards, celebrating residential design innovation and construction excellence. All entrants were featured in Outdoor Design Issue 42, with winners to be announced in Outdoor Design Issue 43.

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