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This home renovation project not only changed the look of the house, it also opened it up to a great view – courtesy of Don Nelson & Associates

Open to view


Living in a great location doesn't necessarily mean your house is designed to take advantage of the fact. This can be one of the most frustrating aspects of owning an older home – a lack of indoor-outdoor flow and little focus on the view.

The house featured on these pages was a good example. Originally a 1950s brick-and-tile bungalow with basement garaging, the house needed updating. As well as providing a more spacious contemporary-style home, the renovation needed to link the house with the lakefront.

Don Nelson, whose company Don Nelson & Associates was commissioned to design the renovation, says the lake views were the focus of the design.

"The formality of the entrance way acknowledges this importance," he says. "Steps lead down through the garden to the front door and a large tiled entrance, which flows beneath a balcony and curved stairways. Circular columns flank the entrance void and help direct the eye to the views beyond. At the rear, the entire house opens up to the pool and the beautiful lake views."

The original basement was renovated to accommodate new bedrooms and a lounge-games room. This room opens directly to the pool, which now occupies the former car parking area.


Nelson says the main floor of the existing three-bedroom bungalow was typical of its era, but the rooms were too small for the new owners.

"The three bedrooms were reconfigured to create two large bedrooms and a main bathroom," he says. "In addition, a new top floor was added to accommodate the master bedroom, ensuite and large, walk-in wardrobe."

The master bedroom opens to tiled decking, with views over the pool and garden to the lake.

Nelson says the original kitchen was dismantled and the house extended to create a new, larger kitchen, also positioned to provide lake views. The dining and family area opens out through bifold doors to an expansive deck. Curved outdoor stairs link this deck with the pool.

To replace the former basement garages, a new double garage with internal access was built at the roadside.

"With its modern Mediterranean exterior, the house looks very different from both the street and the lakefront," says Nelson. "It is also far more liveable."

For more details, contact Don Nelson & Associates Ltd, phone (09) 486 4698, fax (09) 489 6447, mobile (0274) 967 450. Email: Website:

First published date: 07 May 2004

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