Maddie and Mike Witter went in search of a larger property when their family quickly expanded from four to six. They spotted a house for sale around the corner that was filled with mould, but Maddie saw its potential after completing a BuildHer Collective renovation course.
‘I never would have purchased this house if I hadn’t done the BuildHer Collective,’ she says. ‘They gave me the confidence that I could do this renovation.’
The renovation was a major undertaking, requiring Maddie, Mike and their four young children Gigi, (now 9), Milo, (7), and twins Junie and Louie, (3) to relocate to the property’s backyard studio while the main home was gutted.
‘It was a bit like camping. We made that decision because we were on an extremely tight budget to renovate,’ explains Maddie.
This period was extremely challenging, not only due to renovations, but because one child also underwent serious kidney surgery over the same period. ‘We were literally together squished in one small room for the entire renovation and surgery recovery period,’ says Maddie.
Fortunately, the renovation also revealed some good news, when builder Calibre Built Developments found the home’s original high ceilings hidden under plaster.
‘We discovered during the renovation that the home wasn’t actually a ‘60s or ‘70s home as everyone thought, but a Victorian,’ says Maddie. ‘Legend has it that in the ‘60s, the homeowners removed the weatherboards [from the facade], and bricked it up. They also lowered the ceilings.’
Meanwhile, a new floor plan was developed by BuildHer Collective, and Maddie designed the interiors herself.
‘I decided to choose beautiful period features honouring the Victorian era, like our doors and wardrobes while also honouring its ‘60s vibe through the choice of terrazzo and plasterwork,’ she says.
Also reflected in the home’s design are some of the children’s requests, including a strong connection to the garden, and lots of places to run around inside. The garden outlook that’s been created is one of Maddie’s favourite elements of the home.
‘I love that our home faces an incredible sycamore tree. You can watch it change through the seasons and because of our view, you can see the whole tree,’ she says.
With the knowledge and confidence instilled by BuildHer Collective, plus the work of a stellar builder, Maddie and Mike were able to create a four-bedroom home within their existing house’s footprint. The vision was for a playful, airy, and organised home, and that’s exactly what’s been achieved. So impressive!