Our projectsPlaceMate works to suit your purpose not ours. We can help with any – or all – stages of your new home project. It costs nothing to take the ﬁrst step to meet us. After that, you decide how much – or how little – you’d like PlaceMate to take care of. Not everything needs to be done in one go. It’s entirely up to you how many steps you’d like to take and at what level of detail. Here’s an outline of PlaceMate’s steps and their cost estimates.
To add space without adding a lot of debt to their modest three-bedroom cottage.
Typically open to a classic suburban backyard all summer, this modernist 50s cottage with low-to-the-ground timber floors retained an easy casual connection with the outside. Inside, rooms were compact and the bathroom felt cramped.
Minimise the costs with minimal alteration to the original structure and instead add value with a two-storey pod outside the kitchen to house the family room and the laundry on the ground floor, and a master suite at the top of a winding stair. Bump out under the eaves to enlarge the bathroom and tuck the shower behind the red tile wall at the back of the vanity. Boundaries between old and new are blurred with the use of materials, roof shape and colours that echo the original house. Stacker doors and windows encourage easy flow from inside to outside. Open corners make compact rooms appear much larger. Storage is everywhere and built into a long window seat under the stairs. The owners' subsequent design decision to open up the existing kitchen to the living room created even more space.
The heritage loo was located inside the original house, Ross Roy, which had been designed by colonial architect Claude W. Chalmers and built in 1897. In 1946 Ross Roy became St Peters Lutheran College. For the first ten years classes were held here while the headmaster, his family and girl boarders lived upstairs. From the 1960s the house was neglected and ignored, much to the disappointment of the “old girls”. Although Ross Roy’s grand rooms were later restored, the original downstairs toilet remained unaltered and became a focus of special nostalgia. After lobbying to raise funds, the school now wanted to restore the heritage loo to its former glory for the use of staff and visiting parents, improve user experience and ensure finishes were robust enough for commercial cleaning.
At the time it was built in 1897 Ross Roy was an elaborate Victorian brick home that would have been considered at the height of fashion and technology. Its downstairs toilet featured indoor plumbing, beautiful brickwork and 13 types of decorative tiles. Over the years, the washroom and toilet room had suffered a lot of wear and tear and weathered the outcome of expedient repairs. It smelt of drains.
PlaceMate recorded all the original details for posterity, matched colours precisely, designed the detailed scope of work, selected compatible fittings and found appropriate contractors. As much as possible of the original materials remain untouched. Craftsmen repointed the brickwork, polished the original concrete floor, manufactured tiles to precise size and colour, repaired the cedar door, removed redundant pipes and wiring and installed new drainage. The toilet room has a new WC. A new vanity attaches to a false wall in front of the bricks, to conceal pipes and services. In another century, it can be entirely removed without damaging the original bricks. On completion, the principal held a “First Flush” ceremony. The Old Scholars are happy and Ross Roy’s heritage continues.
An easy care, four-bedroom beach house for both family and rental, with minimal site impact and an economical construction.
This long, skinny block was set back from the main road, within walking distance of the beach. Large trees grew at the front and there was a clearing at the rear, with the opportunity for north-facing ocean glimpses from an upper level. It was likely that two-storey neighbours would surround the property in the future.
Using compact planning, a simple structure and off-the-shelf detailing, PlaceMate’s floor plan included a ground-level beach zone for cars and gear, coupled with a north-facing outdoor living area on the upper deck. To create interest and privacy half levels of stair landings were used. Colour successfully blended the beach house with the surrounding leafy site.