A dated triplex is renovated into a contemporary Cottesloe stunner
Picture: Joel Barbitta

When an interior designer embarks on a complicated renovation of their own home, the results are bound to be impressive.

The effect is further magnified when the services of a progressive architect and specialty builder are brought into the mix.

Such was the case when interior designer Liz Prater set about transforming her drab Cottesloe home.

One of the biggest challenges of rejuvenating the blonde brick, double-storey home was that it was part of a triplex with common walls and a shared roof.

Builder Anthony Pillinger, of Swell Homes, worked with Ms Prater to complete the renovation, which has resulted in a stunning contemporary home.

Mr Pillinger said the project was a perfect example of how a strata home could be reworked without compromise and without impacting too much on the neighbours.

"This particular home is one of three joined properties," he said. "I guess there would have been the option to tear it down and start again but there are merits to keeping the existing building.

Picture: Joel Barbitta

"With duplexes and triplexes it can be better to keep the existing structure because you can take advantage of the original planning decisions. If you were to knock it over and start again, you would never get the same tight setbacks, so it is worth working with what you have got if possible."

Another benefit of keeping the existing house was that it saved on costs associated with repairing the roof and walls of the adjoining property.

Mr Pillinger said one of the biggest challenges during the project was ensuring the home would flow seamlessly from old to new.

"You can't really tell this is an extension," he said.

"We had to smash out a lot of walls and make some major changes, in fact there wasn't one room in the house that wasn't touched, but now that it is all finished it is very difficult to distinguish what was pre-existing and what is new and, to me, that is the sign of a really good renovation and extension.

"The lounge is new but the kitchen was existing, although it has been completely gutted but there is no way you could tell."

Some of the signs which pointed to the house's original styling had been cleverly hidden thanks to thoughtful architectural planning.

"If you looked really closely, you would see some tell-tale signs," Mr Pillinger said. "There's the old tiled roof which we couldn't touch because it joins the neighbouring property but a new balcony has been added and it has a dual purpose. Firstly its roof provides shelter but it also is visually dominant so that you don't ever see the full tiled roof line behind it. You only get snippets of it."

Mr Pillinger said that inside the detail of the design was what made the finished product so successful, with Ms Prater's knack for thinking outside the square and eye for unique decorating opportunities paying big dividends.

One of the standout features is the limed and smoked oak front door, kitchen panelling and lounge room and bathroom cabinets.

"She is really clever. She used floorboards to make the door, kitchen panels and the cabinets in the bathrooms and lounge area," Mr Pillinger said.

Kohlen Joinery used the Royal Oak Floors boards that Ms Prater selected and fabricated the front door, which was fitted into commercial aluminium joinery by SV Glass.

"They are really beautiful and they draw the whole place together and help to unify it," Mr Pillinger said.

"The bathrooms are also fitted out with travertine and that gives a five-star resort feeling."

The travertine was also used extensively in other parts of the interiors and exteriors, which helps create a seamless flow. "You have to be brave to do things like that because while the material itself is reasonably affordable, it is a natural product so the labour is costly and you need someone who is very good at installing it," Mr Pillinger said.

Adjacent to the kitchen, the dining area houses a striking artwork bought by Ms Prater many years ago in Melbourne.

The space flows seamlessly outside to a stylish alfresco area featuring an outdoor kitchen with Silestone benchtops, a wall-mounted fireplace set in James Hardie fibre-cement cladding surrounds, and painted pine-slatting bench seats designed by Ms Prater and constructed by a carpenter.

Ms Prater designed the area herself, installing mirrors on the rear wall to make it feel bigger.

"We posted an image of the backyard (on home design website Houzz) and it has been shared by more than 23,000 people," Mr Pillinger said. "There is something about that space that really strikes a chord with people, I think it is because it is small yet very appealing and it has a sense of spaciousness and luxury."

The main bedroom also features its own courtyard filled with foliage-dense plantings that contrast beautifully against pale-coloured rendered walls.

The West Australian

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