Bill and Kate Clifton had earmarked this vibrant coastal suburb in Sydney’s east as an ideal spot for their children, George, three, and Millie, two, to grow up in. Their first visit to this 1930s semi left them in no doubt it was the ugly duckling in the street, however. “It was pretty uninspiring at first sight,” says Bill. “It faced south and consequently felt dark and cold. It had a classic semi layout – a series of sequential rooms – which didn’t help, and a really awkward connection to the garden.”
Some may find the process of making an old home fit for contemporary living daunting, but Bill, head of architectural building company, Robert Plumb Build, was unfazed. “I could immediately see what was possible and the first floor plan that Kate and I drew up aligned with that of our architects,” he says.
Having worked with Imogene Potter and Simon Wilson of architects Potter&Wilson on a previous job, Bill was aware of how they operated and liked their collaborative and problem-solving style. The same went for interior designer Briony Fitzgerald. “From my experience, the best homes come from having a design and construction team that works really well together. That is what we wanted for our own project,” says Bill.
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