When Cammeray resident Suzanne Barwick stepped back from the advertising industry a few years ago to start a family, few would have expected her to find time on the side for property investment. But in 2007, Barwick got her first taste - she renovated the semi she had bought in 2001 for $680,000 and sold it for $1.4 million. The next two years were spent with her young children before she picked up another Cammeray semi in 2009 for $950,000, did the knock-down-rebuild routine, and sold it 12 months later for $1.61 million.
But the latest job, at 9 Alan Street, Cammeray, was different: turn a rundown three-bedroom bungalow, which she bought for $1.5 million, into a $3 million house - in 10 months.
Fix up or tear down?
Having done renovations and new builds in the past, Barwick was unsure on how to tackle this one. Initially her inclination was to renovate but after consulting with her architect, Andrew Tzannes, she decided to go the other way. Barwick reflects that it would have taken a drastic renovation to open up the cramped configuration, shift the entry point, remove the asbestos and restore the foundations.
''This is the second one I've built from scratch and it's just wonderful; you can put everything wherever you want,'' she says.
As this was also Barwick's investment, the decision had to be financially grounded.
''In hindsight, if you compare what you get for a new building and what you get for a renovation, the money was worthwhile.''
Ins and outs
Barwick says one of the bonuses of working with Tzannes was that when he was first enlisted for the job, he was also writing the new NSW planning laws. Hence, Barwick had the inside tip that ''compliant development'' was on its way in and she decided to wait for the new law to take effect before building.
''As long as you fit within the new compliant development laws, you can go straight to a private certifier,'' she says. ''We … didn't have to submit our plans to council for approval.''
But not everything ran smoothly early on. While readying herself for her most ambitious project yet, a partner in the project pulled out, causing financial strife ahead of the build. Barwick went with plan B, which was to ''beg, borrow and steal from any bank that would give us the loan and build it ourselves'', she says.
The house on offer couldn't be more different to the dark, rundown bungalow that Barwick bought in 2010. The two-storey property capitalises on its north-facing block and has been designed in such a way that ensures natural light permeates all corners of the property.
There are numerous highlights but the open-plan ground floor, featuring a quirky kitchen that flows seamlessly to the outdoor barbecue space, is sure to impress.
All four bedrooms are upstairs and the main bedroom is a show-stealer. Wraparound glass windows as well as a terrace area make sunrise and sunset events not to be missed. The use of top-quality materials is also of note.
Even on the exterior, the use of grey bitumen shingle imported from the US signposts to all those walking past that this is no ordinary property. What doesn't stand out immediately is the overall functionality of the property. From storage needs to Christmas lunch, the design has been planned meticulously. Fans of this bold design should have a walk-through themselves by contacting the listing agent, Justin Ferguson Property Specialists. Though if you miss out on this one, rest assured that Barwick will be flipping another Cammeray home in the near future.
In a nutshell
Time 10 months.
Land size 467 sq m.
Internal size 315 sq m.
Architect Andrew Tzannes, Smith & Tzannes, 9699 1600.
- 3 x 2000-litre rainwater tanks.
- Energy-efficient LED lighting throughout house.
- Insulation throughout all ceilings and walls.
- Ventilation in all bathrooms, laundry and kitchen.
Barwick says: ''Sitting in that front living room looking out on the deck is divine, but lying on the main bed and looking out at the view is just so peaceful.''
Barwick says: ''You need to have an awareness of what things might cost from the beginning. You just learn that after doing a few projects.''
Site set-up $37,000
Structural steel $28,000
and doors $66,825
Timber flooring, stairs, timber battens $49,900
Internal fitout $36,000
Tiling and tiles $44,400
Rainwater tanks $6100
Underfloor heating $9100
Shower screens $5400
Awning and handrail $19,000
Internal doors and hardware $9000
Garage door $2730
Kitchen appliances $17,000
Bathroom products $29,000
Misc materials $13,000
Council fees, permits, home owners' warranty etc $38,000
Stamp duty $70,000