LOVE SHACK: A STYLIST AND A BUILDER CREATE A HOME FROM SALVAGED FINDS
KRISTINA IS A stylist and location scout for home and lifestyle TV shows and Ben is a builder. You’d have to say they are the perfect match when it comes to home renovating on a shoestring. And the product of their union? A charming family cottage located on Sydney’s northern beaches.
When they bought it back in 1994 they had a limited budget and there wasn’t really a great deal of properties to choose from. And then they spied “a quaint fibro and sandstone 50’s style box of a house on a hill,” remembers Kristina.
They bought it and moved in. Later with the impending arrival of their second child the couple decided to take time out and “do something different”.
So, with their three year old in tow, they moved to Italy for six months and rented out their unrenovated cottage. “It was in Italy living by the water at Sorrento,” says Kristina, “that we gained all the inspiration we needed to renovate our little shack. So that’s what we did we came back.”
Needless to say as a professional stylist Kristina was adept at sourcing and procuring furniture and props. Meanwhile building materials were picked up anywhere and everywhere.
The green window shutters were found at various recycling yards; while tarpaulins would cover an open window indefinitely until Kristina found just the “right” old window to fit the space.“Ben was so patient with me,” she says. “Sometimes I would ask him to hang a window upside down and he would do it no questions asked. He just got the aesthetic.”
Working on a tight budget without an architect, the couple added several rooms to the layout and a veranda to enjoy the beach views. A small bedroom was turned into a dressing room adjacent to the master bedroom to accommodate Kristina’s large wardrobe. The kitchen and bathroom were replaced and a new tin roof was installed. Dangerous asbestos was removed and replaced.
Original hardwood floorboards were painstakingly matched, with Kristina spending hours sourcing and tracking down a batch of floorboards that had come from a demolition site In Western Australia. Left over boards were used by Ben to make the family’s dining table.
Junk yards, auctions, friends, family and even the side of the road were all sources of treasure. “I know what I like when I see it and I love mixing old and new together,” says Kristina. “I love the fact that our kitchen island bench Ben has crafted from old painted factory pegboards.” The base is from IKEA.
This approach enabled the couple to splash out and spend money on having a stainless steel kitchen bench custom made. “Nothing is contrived or over-worked,” she says, “all it just seems to all work out as we go along.”
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