When Lisa and Duncan Robertson bought their rambling turn-of-the-century villa a few doors from Cheltenham Beach, Lisa promised her husband that the alterations would be just cosmetic. They ended up being anything but.
Working with Greg Jones of Jones Architecture and Tomi Williams of Indigo Design, a significant update has modernised Lisa, Duncan and daughter Cara's home into a high-quality masterpiece with an edgy contemporary aesthetic while retaining many beautiful villa features they love.
"Once you start," says Lisa, "you want to do everything properly. You have certain standards of quality you want to take throughout."
Lisa is clearly a perfectionist and, apart from structural changes, myriad minor details make this home exceptional. From all new window hardware to low sensor lights that come on with movement in the hall and bathrooms, every little thing makes life more enjoyable.
A year was spent planning and thinking about how each room would work in a more functional way. Lisa also took time selecting a building firm — Conceptual Construction — which lived up to their high expectations. She says: "All our tradies were true artists."
Major alterations transformed the family area where they removed the old kitchen and a fifth bedroom plus study "to make entertaining easy in this really social community".
"Duncan came here because he likes the beach," says Lisa. "Tuesday nights, he goes paddle boarding with the boys. It's an easy walk and no roads to cross. We sometimes wheel the Weber down there for dinner. It feels like you're constantly on holiday."
Beyond a see-through glass and geometric-patterned steel door from the hall, a beautiful American oak Morgan Cronin kitchen has more space and a matching scullery plus laundry.
With cabinetry topped by a softly grained "latte" marble bench and ceiling height splashback, the kitchen has masses of storage, and fitted drawers glide out from inside bigger drawers.
There are two pyrolytic Miele ovens and a black custom-designed rangehood to match the black sink and taps. Zenith tapware provides instant boiling and room-temperature water in the scullery.
Light from a thin line of concealed LED lighting washes down a tongue and groove timber feature wall opposite. The slats continue through stacker glass doors and up into the ceiling of the porch to seamlessly connect the interior and outdoors.
Lisa's "must-have" was a see-through gas fire on a low hearth extending the length of the family area and the lounge. While it provides ambience, the house is fitted with multi-vented gas central heating. "It's the warmest house in Devonport," says Lisa.
When the Tom Dixon light is turned on, it casts dazzling shadows that complement the steel and glass door between the living spaces.
Upstairs, the deck off the 55sq m main suite is just the spot to admire North Head. Here denim-hued walls highlight the angles of the white painted ceiling. A feature wall with linear copper detailing separates the bed from the his and hers dressing room.
A second bathroom incorporates a huge bath, big enough for two. Roof space in their suite added a hidden room big enough for a study, although there is another study nook at their door.
Lisa likes clean lines, so adding great storage solutions throughout achieves "that put-away look" in all the bedrooms.
For a couple who work in the city, their elegant beach home has been enormously convenient for the past four years.
"It's like going to a holiday village," says Duncan.
"We both bought 50cc scooters so it's just two minutes to the ferry by scooter, and 25 minutes to work's door in Queen St.
"The ferry is so social," says Duncan. You can have a glass of wine on your way." And that's the perfect way to prepare for the endless holiday mode that greets Lisa and Duncan when they arrive home.