Jess and Kane were initially wanting to transform a house for their next renovation, but on inspecting a three-unit block they knew something special had come their way.
“The idea of units excited us, as we knew we could have a lot of fun with them and test our design sense by fitting each unit out with its own unique style. On seeing this complex, we immediately knew this was the exact project we had been searching for,” Jess says. “We were really drawn to the flat-roofed design. We knew we could create something modern, unlike our previous renovation, which was more of a heritage style.”
With the roof dictating a modern minimalist look, the project took on a Palm Springs vibe after their carpenter, Dave Lefevre from DLF Constructions, discovered a large cactus hidden in an overgrown garden.
“There is also a beautiful large palm that is visible from the back yard of the units, which sits on a neighbouring property, so the Palm Springs vibe really fits the space.”
To achieve the signature look of pared-back living in seamless spaces with linear lines, internal spaces were stripped back to basics and non-essential walls removed.
Each unit was then rebuilt internally and freshly painted inside and out, including fences. With white walls on the interior, each unit was given its own personality with one shade of colour featuring on a mix of tiles for the kitchen splashbacks. Alongside varying shades of blue, pink and green, kitchen and laundry benchtops have a marble-look with engineered quartz from Stone Ambassador. In the bathrooms, Terrazzo slabs top vanities, with black cabinetry and brass handles adding a metallic element to the renovation theme.
“Terrazzo was one product I wanted for this renovation. I was not going to compromise,” Jess says. “It took several samples to find the right colour, but when I saw it, I knew it was the one. It lifts the bathrooms and adds a pop of personality to the spaces.”
Rather than traditional frosted-glass windows for privacy in the bathrooms, the couple chose glass bricks for character and texture. Wanting minimal grout and silicon lines, large-format Dekton cladding is on the floor and walls. “We are lucky enough to have luxury products at our disposal,” says Jess, who co-owns VGroup with Kane. “Brass is also a style we carried through all units — tile and carpet trims, taps and door handles. We also used brass clips on the shower screens, and chose matte black tapware and shower heads to complement the cabinetry and balance out the brass.”
A crisp white was chosen for the exterior, with a different pop of colour from the pastel palette on each front door.
“Down the track, Dave also came up with the great idea of painting each unit’s letterbox that we had fixed to the front brick fence the same colour as their front door, which looks fantastic.”
Breeze blocks, another nod to the Palm Springs theme, are a standout feature of the facade. Laid in a stacked-bond pattern, the screen elements offer privacy along one side of two carports that can be seen from the road, yet allow filtered light and breezes to enter the space.
With such a massive overhaul, the couple knew staying on budget was going to be tricky. “It was hard to put a budget together purely because we stripped each unit, so there were so many costs that could have been miscalculated. However, we did pretty well and only went over budget by about 10%, because we added a few more finishing touches with landscaping and backyard design that we hadn’t originally allowed for, because we wanted them to be perfect.”
Keeping a good balance between family life and renovating pushed out the project to nine months, yet the couple know they will be looking to hit the tools again after taking a long-awaited winter holiday.
“We’re certainly looking forward to enjoying this winter with day trips and not grinding floors in the cold and wet. But we do change our mind on a daily basis, so who knows what our next renovating adventure will be.”
Happy with the renovation, and with the units on the property market, Jess hopes the new owners love living in the oasis in the city she and Kane have created.
“We wanted to achieve a very fresh, crisp and vibrant look, which really hasn’t been done in Bendigo. You see a lot of Palm Springs-style on the Gold Coast but not in Central Victoria. I hope the new owners enjoy having that holiday feel when they come home each day.”