The owners were very familiar with the house and site and purchased it whilst on an extended sailing trip overseas. The house was constructed approximately 27 years ago and internally the layouts were typical of houses of that era — planning was less open, rooms were dark and the floor layouts had to be organised better. The house required major alterations and additions and demolition by a competent builder.
I met John Fielding some years ago when I was living in Byron Bay and Bellevarde were doing a big renovation nearby, so I knew the kind of work he could do. John goes above and beyond when looking at the finer details of a job. He comes up with alternative solutions which are always worthwhile considering and reviewing in the detailing process. When the owners were looking for a builder, John and Bellevarde were included on the list. The owner, being a builder himself, was impressed with the projects Bellevarde had completed and chose to go with them.
Being all concrete, the existing house had a lot of merit in its construction and its amalgamation to the steep site. It was substantial and cost effective to keep but this made changes and additions somewhat challenging. The length of time for demolition and stripping out the house was an extensive undertaking. The site is steep with a narrow frontage and it called for some innovative building solutions. Materials arriving at street level needed to be craned over the top of the building. Creating additional and more useable living and entertaining deck areas, consistent with today’s expectations, was at times difficult but the Bellevarde team took it in their stride.
Some of the interior darkness was created by the screening effect of the existing concrete balustrades / planters and limited external glazing linking all deck levels. The design intent was to maximise the amount of natural light intrusion into the house by removing the heavy balustrades and the internal corridors and rooms and reorganising spaces so all the living areas faced the harbour views with new maximum floor to ceiling glazing to the decks. Ancillary rooms like bathrooms were moved to the back of the floor plates and living areas brought forward.
The owners wanted to extend all balcony areas and add a swimming pool to the house and link it to the lowest living area. The pool in particular presented a few challenges as it was essentially suspended in mid-air and required a major cantilever and some serious engineering.
John recommended getting engineering firm PMI involved whom Bellevarde had worked with previously. PMI made a positive contribution to the project with several creative design solutions throughout the build. A positive contribution that provided greater flexibility in the design.
It was great working with Site Manager Adam Howe and the Bellevarde team. Adam was a constant presence and I was very impressed by his knowledge of construction and what we were trying to achieve. Both John and Adam’s experience, having been in the industry for so long, was a definite bonus. I think their team were very much able to realise, and in some cases improve on, our vision for the place. They were always helpful in their interpretation of what was designed. I believe it was a good relationship.
I think the owners are very happy and have a lot of respect for Bellevarde and what’s been achieved. The owners are great people and clients who wanted everything done properly and then to have a skilled builder who tied it all together, fantastic. The quality of the finish is highly impressive.
I would certainly recommend building with Bellevarde. Their ability to fine-tune detail is outstanding and their ability to focus on quality is paramount. They realise high end projects with a lot of confidence.