Removing a wall for a unit renovation with new bathroom by Passion Built

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Absolutely delighted with the result of our bathroom renovation completed by Passion Built. Dylan was very professional and friendly from the very first call and built our confidence. We are very detailed and particular but nothing was too much trouble.

All tradesmen were on-time, professional, friendly and accommodating. And the quality of the work is exceptional.

Kim Benito

Bathroom renovator in Leichhardt

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Unit block renovations for old buildings in Sydney

We talk to lots of people who contact us asking about whether it is possible to renovate a unit in a big apartment block. Lots of people think that because the unit has shared walls, floors and ceiling that it isn’t possible to renovate it because it may disturb the neighbours, although, the opposite is true – you can renovate a unit if you follow the right steps.

One very lucky daughter had this unit renovated in McMahons Point by her parents who had owned it for many years. It had been used as a rental property and was a little tired, but it was time for their daughter to use it as her own so they decided to give it a modern refresh.

The layout and styling was quite old, we are guessing, but maybe a 70’s style apartment block that had lots of small separate rooms for kitchen, living, dining that made it feel smaller. The owners wanted to know if we could make it feel bigger by removing a wall to open up the space.

Removing a wall in a unit to make more space

As part of Passion Built‘s renovation contract, we engaged a structural engineer to check if any of the existing walls could be removed to create an open plan kitchen area that had an island bench and breakfast bar. 

Making this change would bring the existing living area together with the kitchen to make it feel like a single, larger space. It would make it more practical, let more light into the unit & take advantage of the fourth floor views out over the balcony as well.

Our engineer certified that it could be done, even though there were units above and below this one. This immediately created lots of renovation options for the owners in terms of layout and positioning of the new kitchen they wanted.

We were engaged to renovate the whole unit including the small bathroom and kitchen so that everything would match nicely and have the same interior design style from the flooring, custom joinery throughout, painting and lighting.

Renovating in a unit

Renovating in a unit can sometimes be a little bit more expensive than in a house mainly due to the extra time required. Even though the renovation work is very similar the biggest difference is the time required due to access not being as easy where materials, debris and other items need to be taken via stairs or a lift. In some cases products may have to be lifted with a crane if they are too large to fit into a lift or stairwell.

If you are changing the flooring type, balcony, walls or plumbing then you will need to get approval because strata regulations do not allow an owner to remove any section of wall without permission from Body Corporate based on their Strata Plan.

The most complex task will be when you are considering removing internal walls to create an open plan living, kitchen and dining area as many internal walls are load bearing and support the floors above or below.

Creating more space in a small unit

The unit owners wanted to take advantage of Passion Built’s carpentry skills and engaged us to provide custom joinery throughout the unit. A sense of warmth was created with the spotted gum engineered flooring that was nicely complimented with LED underbench lighting to give things a luxury feel. 

Once the existing wall was knocked out you could enjoy the water views from the kitchen as well as entertain guests in the living area very easily, there was so much space. Another clever design features was the kitchen island bench was dressed in stone on all sides which created the illusion that a solid block of stone had been used. The actual build too about six weeks to complete because we had to wait for the new kitchen appliances to arrive. There was also a delay on the Caesarstone which required a new choice to be made of the product being used so the job could be completed.

All the bathroom and kitchen tapware came from ABI and their premium look and feel matched perfectly with all the other details in the unit. While a white colour palette will ensure there is this sense of space & ‘lightness’ to every room, the brushed tapware and appliances add a touch of contrast to break things up.

 

Renovating ideas for units

Hide the washing machine in the kitchen

A lot of unit blocks in Sydney have a shared laundry area and nobody really likes using them. When you renovate a unit you have the opportunity to change the plumbing so that a washing machine can be added to the kitchen. Modern appliances are available that are a combination washer and dryer  from places like Appliances Online to give you complete flexibility to wash and dry clothes. 

For units that have a separate space for the laundry this can be re-purposed to be more storage, a linen cupboard or for some other purpose. 

In wall toilet cistern

When you have a small bathroom in a unit you need to be clever with the products you choose like the vanity, toilet or even shower. One way to create more space is to install an in-wall toilet cistern because it conceals a lot of bulk and creates a minimalist look. The soft touch buttons add a touch of luxury as well.

Using a single colour

You can make a room feel larger by using a single colour palette in the room which reduces the visual clutter and blends one surface into another.

Custom joinery and vanity

Instead of trying to fit off the shelf products into a bathroom its possible to maximise the use of space by having custom made joinery done. It means you can create a vanity unit that is totally bespoke to the room, using every available centimetre of space. This design also incorporated a sink so that everything was done to maximise the available space in this small bathroom.

Glass shelving in the shower

Sometimes it isn’t possible to install a wall niche in the shower which is a very modern trend. So the alternative idea is to have custom made shelving that ‘floats’ on the wall. These glass shelves are easy to clean, practical and visually don’t take up any clutter in the room. Light can also bounce around the room compared to ugly plastic storage units.

Frameless glass shower screens

You can buy cheap shower screens at places like Bunnings, but look how great a custom made frameless shower screen looks. Instead of trying to fit a standard size screen into the room, you can have whatever you like made to size.

So for this bathroom they could have placed the screen on the other side of the window to create a double person shower if they wanted to.

The frameless design is easier to keep clean because there are less surfaces, edges or joins for soap scum, shampoo or other debris to collect.

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