A Ground Level Reconfiguration in Maylands, Perth

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Intensive structural work was required to take the ground floor of this Maylands townhouse from dark and disjointed to bright and open.

Intensive structural work was required to take the ground floor of this Maylands townhouse from dark and disjointed to bright and open.

Before After
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The Initial Consultation

This 1980s townhouse backs onto a beautiful river. However, the poorly laid out ground floor had unfortunately crushed any hope of a view and restricted opportunities for transforming the interior. 
Todd, the homeowner, questioned how the ground floor could be reconfigured to take advantage of the property’s surroundings while establishing an open-plan layout to facilitate a kitchen renovation. However, he was unsure which walls were load-bearing and of what was even achievable. He needed professional assistance, for which he reached out to Refresh Renovations.
Local Renovation Partners Jason and Michelle Zielinski were straight on the scene to help Todd evaluate potential renovation plans. Determining which walls could be removed was the main priority, though it also presented an excellent opportunity to update the structural design. Arched doorways were all the rage in the 1980s, but nowadays, all the arches do is date the style, restrict the flow, and hinder an open-plan layout. After getting a thorough understanding of Todd’s goals, Jason and Michelle got to work on the concept. 

Feasibility and Costing Estimates

Open-plan living isn’t achievable if it compromises a home’s structural integrity, which was Todd’s greatest concern. To determine the feasibility of his plans, Jason and Michelle enlisted the help of Mathew Norris Designs to draw up new floor plan concepts. Though structural reinforcement can be costly, Todd was committed to opening up his living area and ready to make the investment.
During the design process, Jason and Michelle incorporated a kitchen layout into the concept for Todd to visualise how the finished project would look and provided a breakdown of cost for both the structural changes and kitchen refit. However, he already had a personal connection in the kitchen cabinetry business, so he opted to have Jason and Michelle complete the structural elements while he took care of the kitchen installation.
The final concept included a significant amount of structural work, including steel beam installation, electrical work, and interior painting. All up, the renovation was estimated to cost $30,000, although Jason and Michelle managed to complete it at the cost of $28,000.

Orchestrating Major Structural Changes

Making structural changes to a home requires obtaining council consent, but Todd didn’t have to worry about it since Jason and Michelle managed the entire project. They took care of all paperwork and necessary applications. And once the council approved the work, construction commenced. 
Jason and Michelle brought in a crew assembled from their extensive network of industry professionals to undertake the structural changes. This process unfolded across the planned schedule of seven weeks. 
Due to the comprehensive nature of this ground level renovation, Todd moved out for the duration of the project. Which was a wise choice considering the site was covered in dust and debris once construction began. Demolition involved removing the 80s archways, the ‘popcorn’ ceiling, and the existing kitchen to make way for the new open-plan layout.
In order to open up the ground level, the second storey was supported by 30 Acrow props. During this time, the renovation team cut new openings for the brickwork, installed and welded steel beams into place, installed new electrical wiring, and completed the brickwork, gyprocking, and painting.
Executing such intensive construction requires precision and a large amount of manual labour, but the build process was coordinated seamlessly with Jason and Michelle on the job.

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The Completed Open-Plan Layout

From the beginning, Todd envisioned having an open-plan layout that would allow views of the property’s surroundings and provide a fantastic foundation for a new kitchen – and that’s precisely what this renovation delivered.
It doesn’t matter where you are on the ground floor; you always have a view of the backyard and even further beyond to the river. Natural light pours in and warms the entire level. And while the layout has completely opened up, there are still distinct areas for the new kitchen, breakfast bar, dining area, study, and lounge. 
Despite not undertaking an extension, the ground level appears to have doubled in size. Todd is thrilled with the outcome and is singing Jason and Michelle’s praises.
“My experience with them was very, very good, and I highly recommend their services. They engaged great planners and designers, and their tradespeople were top notch. The build went smoothly, and I was informed of progress regularly.” - Todd, the homeowner.

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This project was completed in
October 2021
Project description
Ground level renovation
Project duration
7 weeks
Cost estimate
Actual cost
Interesting aspects
A black colour scheme and minimalist design.
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Jason Zielinski is Renovation Consultant of Vibe WA Pty Ltd, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise Australia PTY Ltd, doing business in Perth.

Michelle Zielinski is Renovation Consultant of Vibe WA Pty Ltd, a franchisee of Renovation Franchise Australia PTY Ltd, doing business in Perth.

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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