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The Lyngaae

Built out of necessity, then renovated to perfection. Another post-Cyclone Tracy transformation.


When Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin at Christmas in 1974, 71 people died, 70 per cent of homes were destroyed and the city was denuded of vegetation. The damage was so severe that some advocated moving the entire city, but the Australian Government insisted it be rebuilt in the same location. In February 1975, the Darwin Reconstruction Commission was created and tasked with rebuilding the city.

Like many of the northern suburbs, in the suburb of Wagaman there was almost nothing left standing when Tracy had finished her work. In the months and years that followed, the city was rebuilt using more stringent standards "to cyclone code". The rebuilding was largely done by the NT Housing Commission using only a limited number of designs on a large scale. The elevated house in Wagaman, built in 1979, is one of these houses.

Unfortunately, this house, like most designs of the era, was constructed with little thought to visual street appeal and climatic comfort. Post-Tracy houses were built with smaller windows and outdoor spaces compared to their predecessors, a reflection of the time's concerns about houses withstanding another natural disaster. Housing designs barely responded to Darwin’s tropical climate.

When the current owners bought the home in 2019, they were faced with a “remuddled” kitchen from a past decade and a disjointed and tired 1970’s house. The owners asked La Perouse Homes to re-imagine the house as a unified, flowing, modern indoor-outdoor living space for 21st century living.

La Perouse worked with the owners to develop a renovation that would allow the house to take advantage of Darwin’s tropical lifestyle. The house required “territorisation”. Critical to the redesign was improving the floor plan, with minimal impact. La Perouse worked room by room to repurpose and update the outdated interior.

The street appeal of the home was compromised by a lacklustre entryway. The original entry included a small-sized porch at the top of the stairs, a space that was tight and unappealing as a place to welcome, entertain and relax. The solution was to incorporate this space into a modern, spacious deck that now wraps around the front of the home and links to the living area. With two-metre-wide sliding doors, the front deck is designed as an extension of the living area, making a modest living space feel much larger than it is in reality and bringing the outdoors in. This new entrance not only creates a great first impression but has turned this previously pokey, unusable area into an open, welcoming space.

This stylish, contemporary deck is steel framed and complimented with merbau decking boards. Feature materials are plywood ceiling panels with a shadow line between the panels. Slimline stainless wire balustrading creates an unimpeded view from the kitchen to the garden and enhances light to the internal living space.

A major component of the design brief included remodelling the outdated kitchen, dining and living spaces into interconnected, flowing zones that linked to the outdoor entertaining area. The family wanted a space where they could cook, eat, hang out and entertain in. The remodelled kitchen, living and dining zones, now flow seamlessly into one another and onto the new deck.

The glamorous 21st century kitchen takes pride of place in this interconnected space. The original “remuddled” kitchen was completely reinvented with contemporary designer features. Working with Lachlan White from Northern Stone Solutions, the client chose Caesarstone Nougat for the benchtops for its textural quality and neutral tones. The Nougat colour palette offsets the tones of the warm, on-trend charcoal laminate cabinetry working in concert with Oiled Legno laminate woodgrain features.

Equipped with all the necessities needed in a modern kitchen, this beautiful space reveals the best in workmanship, installation and design. This kitchen is totally unrecognisable from its historical counterpart. With plenty of space for milling around, ample cooking and preparation zones and a seamless flow to adjoining areas, the kitchen is one of the wow factors of this renovation.

The owners decided to eschew an ensuite bathroom in favour of a walk-in wardrobe and dressing room, but the trade-off was that La Perouse created a bathroom that they would love to spend time in. The old bathroom was crowded and poorly planned; it was definitely time to welcome this outdated space into the modern era. By comparison, the new bathroom features straight, clean lines, uncluttered counter spaces and colour palettes that match the kitchen design.

The standout achievement of the renovation is the bespoke walk-in wardrobe and dressing room that has been created using a former small bedroom adjacent to the main bedroom. This space is a dream-come-true for the lady of the house. It is a space that affords the opportunity to customise every element of her wardrobe for complete organisation and convenience. With designated areas for shoes, shirts, trousers, hanging items, accessories and boxes, the perfect outfit is always at her fingertips.

The remodelling of this home represents another renovation achievement for La Perouse Homes. With regular client contact, the team kept the project moving and the client happy. Trades flowed effortlessly in and out to ensure deadlines were kept while achieving the maximum quality output. Never ones for compromise, Daniel and Genaye Stephenson undertook this renovation with respect for the existing space. A good renovation finds the balance and integration between old and new. Good renovation creates a new experience while keeping the essence of the previous design. The attention to detail lavished on this home by La Perouse has turned this tired 1970’s house into a sophisticated family residence that acknowledges, respects and lives in the unique Darwin environment.

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