Sydney Penthouse


Tanya Hancock, of
Hancock Architects

Kerrie & Richard

Our apartment needed a major renovation. It’s a difficult location, being on the top floor of an older building but Bellevarde ensured the process was efficient and we’re very happy with the final outcome.

We were referred to John Fielding by a friend who had worked with him before and recommended the experience. John was very involved initially. His experience helped us formulate practical ideas and good design solutions on how best to use the space. The balcony, for example, is around a third of the overall space. One of the main issues we’ve faced over many years living here are the strong winds and wild weather that comes in from the North East. In the past, Aeronautical Engineers have been brought in to provide solutions to the wind and associated noise problems. These were unsightly and we wanted them removed. In consultation with John and the Architect, we came up with a design to remove the railing and replace it with glass. The window and balcony treatments we came up with are effective against the wind and rain and much more aesthetically pleasing. It's much quieter and gives an excellent seal against wind and rain.

Once the build began, the site manager, Ben Lea, developed ideas at a practical level in close consultation with the Architect. Ben is very proactive and it was nice to have someone so consultative and cordial over the course of a long build. All the Bellevarde builders were fantastic. They were available and accessible and nothing was ever too much trouble.

One of the concerns we had was how to get materials in and rubble out efficiently. Ben kept us and the neighbours informed so everyone knew what to expect and there were no surprises. His excellent attention to detail meant inconvenience to other residents was kept to an absolute minimum.

A memorable highlight of the build process was the helicopter. Several factors about our location meant this was the only feasible way to get the heavy glass doors for the balcony delivered. Ben and his team oversaw the tricky operation calmly and professionally. Anticipating some noise and inconvenience for neighbours, he brought tea and cakes for them on the day. It was a very nice touch.

We’ve had the chance to enjoy the completed apartment for a while now. The fittings and finishings are simply excellent. We would have no hesitation in recommending Bellevarde to anyone.    

Tanya Hancock, of
Hancock Architects

The owner had lived in the original apartment for some time and wanted to convert the traditional layout into an open plan with a large master suite that maximised on the view to all rooms. We were more than pleased when they mentioned the builder they wanted to work with. We had always wanted to undertake a project with Bellevarde.

Due to the age of the existing building and the location of the apartment, the re-design and build was occasionally demanding but, backed by Bellevarde’s Ben Lea, everything went smoothly and without any major issues. Ben is great at resolving details, he simply makes things happen. Early on, he helped transform the design intent into something practical, something that could be built. At some point in the process, you give your architectural ideas to someone who can bring them into reality. Ben allowed all the ideas to simply fall into place and made it a pleasant experience.

Building in an apartment can be cramped and noisy for neighbours. With his experience and good nature, Ben and his team were able to work in with tenants and this never became a problem.

One of the biggest logistical hurdles was the installation of the large glazing panels to the sliding doors for the balcony. To maximise the views the glazing panels were large in size and weight. Unfortunately the loading capacity of the parking deck in front of the building prevented any cranes being utilised from the street. After thorough investigations into the available options, Ben came up with the best solution to the problem—we would bring the glass in by helicopter from a barge in the harbour. This military-style operation involved coordination with the barge, lifting equipment and methodology at collection and drop off points as well as closing down parts of the area to ensure the safety of surrounding occupants. The delivery timeframe was tight but everything ran like clockwork and the panels were delivered and installed on site undamaged.  Maintaining the large panels has maximised the unobstructed view and allowed the creation of large openings when the doors are open connecting the apartment to the balcony. Without Ben and Bellevarde, I’m not sure how we would have gotten it done. It goes to show their commitment and ingenuity.

Ben brought many small details together, handling them with care and integrity. The bespoke brass features had to be plated in rose gold. Ben coordinated the whole process, from the brass manufactures to the plating process, in a timely and efficient manner. The same is true of the custom built joinery handles and metal floor strips. Ben saw to it that every element be beautifully constructed. The finished result is all we could have hoped for—natural, timeless and elegant. The owners are very pleased and so am I. I look forward to working with Bellevarde again soon

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