Testimonial Lyall Bay Renovation

Lyall Bay Reno
Client: Mike Marsden & Liorah Atkinson.
James is a friend, a truly talented architect, as well as a man with a great sense of humour, an eye for detail, and an ability to hear what his clients really want to achieve.

We worked with James and the Solari team to renovate what was originally a 1908 cinema. This property has also been a tearoom, pottery studio, surf-shop and cafe. The previous owners were in the process of turning it into an 88 seater restaurant, so the main area had been largely gutted, while the living areas were very dated with a layout that didn’t work well for a family home.

We wanted to turn this very large building with multiple floor levels, a mixture of vast open spaces and a tiny warren of rooms into a home that both children and adults could enjoy – whilst making the most of the natural light and views the site offered.

In the beginning, we had decided to focus our time and budget mainly on the interiors. “We live in it, we don’t need to look at the outside”. However, James came up with some amazing exterior design options, which got us really excited about what was possible to achieve. When together we found the coloured Rodeca we used for the front facade, we knew we had the potential to make a real statement of the outside of this amazing building. The front of the house now is one of our favourite parts of the whole build.

When asked about the project’s challenges; we have to take into consideration that this is an old building, and there wasn’t a single straight line in the entire place. The exterior cladding, which was supposed to be a quick installation, ended up taking almost six months to complete, with an entirely new framework needing to be built to provide a straight and stable base. It massively increased our budget, and was a very real stress at the time; but looking at it now we know there was no real alternative. The anodised aluminium and Rodeca gave us amazing protection from the sand, wind and salt which is the cost of living on the beautiful rugged South Coast.

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