A Family Home Extends Upwards in Ivanhoe East, Melbourne

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A beige two-storey house

With a growing family and no way to accommodate a ground-level extension, these Ivanhoe East homeowners needed professional guidance to create additional living space within their family home.

Before After
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Ambitious Ideas

Mathew and Nicole’s family was growing but their Ivanhoe East home was not. With a limited garden area, the option to expand laterally was non-existent. However, they needed more living space — ideally two bedrooms’ worth. They knew the idea of a second-storey extension was complex and that they lacked the time and skill to coordinate such a project on their own so they wanted a professional to take the reins and guide them through the process.
The couple reached out to Renovation Consultant Paul Cree who has become known for his award-winning, large-scale, transformations in Melbourne. Paul always aims to provide maximum value, manage expectations, and deliver a fantastic experience.

Expert Guidance

Paul met with Matthew and Nicole to discuss their goals: two additional bedrooms — one of which was to be a fully-equipped master suite — a dedicated office space, and an exterior that blended seamlessly with the existing structure so the extension looked as if it had always been there. 
The trio explored different design options, the feasibility of each, and how well each iteration aligned with the budget. Paul also engaged his in-house interior designer to help Matthew and Nicole make design decisions about details such as finishings and colour schemes. Once they’d successfully defined the project scope, Paul provided an estimate of $415,000 which the couple was comfortable with. 
The next discussion to be had was about the timeframe of the project. If they began in June as planned, Paul estimated the project would be finished in time for Christmas. Matthew and Nicole were on board with the proposed schedule and trusted Paul to deliver as promised, which was vital as the family planned to vacate the property during the significant renovation. 
Paul set Matthew and Nicole up with access to Refresh’s intuitive client portal and demonstrated how they could follow the project, get live progress updates, and discuss any changes.  

Overcoming Challenges

Before construction began, Paul arranged for the appropriate permits to be obtained so Matthew and Nicole could be confident knowing their renovation was being done by the books. Planning permits required the neighbours to be given notice and opportunities to review the plans and provide feedback, all of which Paul coordinated. Once the planning and building permits were sorted, the build could finally begin. 
Although Paul worked diligently to plan each aspect to a T, some factors were out of his control. Unexpected stormwater pipes were discovered, parts of the existing roof valleys needed to be replaced, and Melbourne experienced extreme weather conditions which included flooding throughout parts of Victoria. 
These challenges caused delays and logistical difficulties — lacking a roof during the wet season — but Paul and his team forged on and worked hard to make up for lost time.

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Making It Happen
Despite the complications, the crew made steady progress. They’d completed extensive excavations and installations to accommodate new footing supports. Large steel beams had to be hoisted over the house due to restricted access. The first floor unexpectedly endured damage due to the structural work for the second-storey addition and remediation specialists restored the living level to pristine condition. 
DIY or inexperienced project management would have meant this project was delayed by months. But, thanks to Paul’s expertise, meticulous planning, and talented construction team, Matthew and Nicole’s second-storey addition was delivered on time, as promised. The final cost of the renovation came to $434,00 as the homeowners elected to add a few extras to the scope, such as interior painting and electrical updates.

Final Thoughts

In just over six months, Paul delivered impressive results for the Ivanhoe East property. Matthew and Nicole now have a luxurious master suite — complete with a spa-style bathroom and his-and-hers wardrobe — an additional bedroom, and dedicated office space so they can comfortably work from home with no distractions. From both inside and out, the extension appears indistinguishable from the original home; a feature that was important to the couple. 
Paul, himself, is thrilled with the result and names the refurbished timber floorboards as a standout design element. Considering all of the challenges the team faced during this project, the fact that Paul managed to keep the extension on time and within budget while ensuring Matthew and Nicole had a stress-free experience is a testament to the value of his expert project management —  the flawless design is simply an added bonus.

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This project was completed in
June 2023
Project description
Second-storey extension
Matthew and Nicole Green
Project duration
6.5 months
Cost estimate
Actual cost
Inclement weather, structural changes, and access issues.
Interesting aspects
A seamless blend between storeys.
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Paul Cree is Renovation Consultant of Zennix Pty Ltd, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise , doing business in Melbourne.

Actual costs vary by project. Plan ahead to reduce the impact of industry changes or disruptions. For more information see here.

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