THE air is rich with the warm, spicy aroma of the recycled Australian hardwood that lines the floors, windows and benches of the home of another happy Swannell Group client.
The brief from the client was simple: open up the back of the Mayfield art deco home to create a seamless open plan living, dining and lounge that spills out onto a covered deck.
But brothers Nathaniel and Jonathon’s latest renovation turned out to be more of an excavation – the two removed nine tippers of cracked bricks from the formerly pokey home, as well as a concrete slab beneath the old kitchen that had to be removed with wheel barrows.
Despite some minor challenges, Nathaniel and Jonathon’s 12-week renovation has left the west-facing back area feeling homely and whole-hearted, common traits throughout the duo’s impressive carpentry portfolio.
Double hung sash windows line the walls of the now spacious back area, crafted and installed with nifty removable panes for easy cleaning and oiling.
Underfoot, the floor is a far cry from the original ageing carpet, with cyprus wooden floorboards with slight hints of red laid throughout the space.
A kitchen in a clean Antique White USA finish sits comfortably in one corner of the room, with a smoke-mirrored splashback an understated alternative to a straight mirrored splashback.
A mosaic of mirror-blend tiles line the remainder of the area, running into the recycled hardwood architraves and timber of the north-facing window spilling light across tiles.
Thick black granite kitchen benches with a set-in stainless steel sink proved a worthy challenge for the boys.
‘‘It’s the single hardest rock before diamond so it was difficult to cut into,’’ Nathaniel says.
‘‘If it had moved a millimetre it would have ruined the whole thing. But at the same time it’s durable and almost impossible to scratch.’’
LeMans II slide-out benches sourced through Hafele provide ease of access to the corner cabinets, with each tray swinging right out for maximum usability.
Powerpoints and downlights are cleverly hidden underneath the overhead cabinets, leaving the whole area feeling clean and uncluttered.
A folding glass door links the living area with the deck – an addition which took some convincing of the client.
‘‘As it turns out, you can’t really picture it without a connecting level,’’ Nathaniel says.
The deck is finished in an Australian hardwood with hints of red, bronze and brown suggested through the varying widths of the floorboards.
High above the deck is the Swannell boys’ signature design – an exposed cathedral ceiling, in this case constructed using recycled wood with custom-made stainless steel T-brackets to hold the beams in place. The double gable beams support a high ceiling made of plantation pine, finished in the same white as the kitchen cabinets.
The exterior of the extension was completed using a western red cedar shiplap cladding, a natural and stronger alternative to traditional softwood and manufactured cladding.
However, the heart of the art deco brick home was carefully retained by the crafty brothers, including maintaining the detailed ornate ceiling – original pressed tin dating back to the home’s original build in the early 20th century.
‘‘The client was really happy we were able to maintain the ceilings because they can raise the values of a home quite substantially,’’ Nathaniel says.
‘‘Throughout the whole thing, we kept thinking about how to get back to the original character at the heart of the home.’’