The last few years have changed the way we view many things, including the idea of home and creating spaces to share with those we love. Shaynna Blaze is no different and when she stumbled across a dilapidated, 130-year-old property in country Victoria, she knew she could restore and design a home for her family to enjoy together. Lockdowns, extreme weather and supply delays made for compelling viewing as the journey was documented through the Country Home Rescue television show. The tenacity to push through, the collaboration with her children Jess and Carly and the true vision for the property was what had us hooked from episode one.
The home was very tired, but something still appealed to Blaze, who was searching for a property with her children for an entirely different purpose- a film set for a horror movie! From a film location to a warm, inviting home required vision. “Even though it was completely run down and the layout wasn’t exactly right it had a sense of home to it and there were some beautiful features that I knew if I enhanced and added to I could make this a beautiful home.” Said Blaze.
In Kyneton, in regional Victoria, the renovation and documentation of the process began. Uncovering period features and building dramas in equal measures. The cool climate and a desire to honour the original design and breathe a fresh interpretation into the space was the driving design brief. “Doing it in a pandemic was not ideal, we were faced with four lockdowns, supply chain issues, the worst storm in 40 years and I have never seen rain and mud so relentless. The working conditions for the trades were so brutal and it is a testament to the trade’s work ethic to actually get the job done to the quality that it has.”
Working with her family, Blaze and her team of trades transformed the home. Influenced by the building’s history Blaze created repetitious patterns of chevron throughout, including Flooring Xtra engineered boards (Wellington Oak). “The chevron pattern was going to start down the spine of the hallway and then open into the lounge area but due to supply chain issues we had to change the flooring and there was a reduced amount so trying to do the whole place in chevron just wasn’t a reality. The compromise is so befitting to the space now that I can’t imagine it with the full chevron. Creating a major feature of the chevron in the hallway makes it stand out even more. In the centre are the pillars of the archway and which is defined with a horizontal board and then the chevron points to the centre. Where the two points meet defines the old part of the hallway to the modern part of the hallway, so by doing this has created its own story to the house and celebrates the ‘old and new’.”
Kyneton is notoriously cold, so carpet (Oxford Park, colour Nursery) was introduced to add warmth and comfort in the bedrooms with the benefit of acoustic qualities. “The luxe, raised loops have a beautiful ‘massage’ element underfoot and the wool composition of the carpet absorbs some of the noise in the rooms and that mixed with the Flooring Xtra exclusive underlay means when Olive is dancing around in her room with her friends (in a couple of years) it helps absorb the noise from impacting the ground floor.” Said Blaze.
Working with her family was a new but exciting prospect and we were keen to hear how this went. “We had the recent project of creating a movie together, but this renovation was on my turf, basically and as Carly and Jess have never renovated before they were up for the challenge without the knowledge or the skills. They took on the premise of being apprentices to the trades and were not afraid of getting dirty or muddy, lucky as it rained for a couple of months! There were a few moments of butting heads but no more than you would as a family (which I am sure a lot of people can relate to). In the end, it has brought us closer, and I love the fact they were part of the build and they have a sense of ownership and love for the home as they were immersed in the process.”
Wellington Oak in the kitchen
Under unique circumstances, the home has come together beautifully. Changes to respond to challenges of supply chains, the weather and the unexpected nature of period homes adds to the success of the finished property. Working together with Flooring Xtra to overcome supply issues was just one of the hurdles. “The conditions were terrible but the whole time the team were focused on ‘problem – solution’ every step of the way. The skills in laying are exceptional as in an old house not everything is even and straight and every space had to be pre-laid to make sure all the angles and cuts were going to fit before it was properly installed. I am so happy with the quality in every way.” From the front door to the back, this is a home that will be cherished by the family for years to come.
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