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Extension with large outdoor entertaining area

Workshop Legend
Workshop Legend

A huge renovation and extension undertaking focused on creating an all-weather outdoor living space.





The plans

The first image is a copy of the original plans from when the house was built as a holiday home in 1999. The second is the new plans with the new build section highlighted. You can compare the internals to see what we are renovating too. Ignore the window locations in the new section. The designer went a bit overboard with window numbers and types.





This is the office layout I've arrived at. It doesn't include stuff like bookcases – just fixed items. We have no idea how far we'll get with our plans. Well, we do – as far as we can before the money runs out. But we've planned it so that each section is an individual project meaning we won't have loads of stuff torn apart at the same time, and if we have to stop for a while we can do so without living in a total disaster area.




The project


July 2018


After months of delays due to everything from weather to design changes to me breaking my leg on-site, we finally have our floor framing in. This is the biggest stage of our owner-builder renovation and extension project.

Most of this will be a decked and undercover outdoor entertaining space but it will also include a purpose-built home-office (far end on the right) and new master bedroom (left above pool).


We used steel for the floor framing for ease of build – the cost is slightly higher but you gain on speed of assembly and virtually zero wastage. It's also a lot stronger so avoids the traditional bearer and joist multi-layered arrangement, although I did have them add sub-bearers in a couple of spots.


Can’t recommend SteelMax highly enough. You basically send them the plans and then you get everything on the back of a truck pre-cut, all you have to do is match the pieces up and put them together like a giant Meccano project. They can do everything from decks to entire house floor frames.

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The office layout will be determined as we finish the space. I plan to have a custom corner benchtop made for the actual desk as I like having loads of benchtop space. Probably need to talk with a local kitchen supplier for that.


The biggest thing for me has been planning to get everything available at the right times. Because of the scale of the job, it’s not like you can just whip out and pick up the amount of gear you need so my biggest tip is to give yourself enough lead time.


We're looking at windows and doors now and that’s more complex and costly than you might think. It has taken a couple of weeks of planning to get them sorted and then it will take a few weeks for them to be made, so I need to allow time for that. Make sure you order insect screens with your windows. Works out a lot cheaper in the long run.


A huge moment was getting the stringers in for the main stairs from the deck to the pool area, and then putting some temporary treads on them. It’s the first time we’ve had direct access from the house to the pool. It meant that I got all my measurements and set out right as the off-the-shelf stringers were exactly the right size and fit. Gotta love that.





September 2018 


Well, we have our HardieDeck down for the exterior areas and STRUCTAflor down for the interior. Posts are up, framing will be starting soon and the windows and doors have been ordered. Very exciting – and scary.




October 2018

Despite nearly 350mm of rain in the last two weeks, we've managed to make some progress. Naturally the rain started as soon as we took the roof off – yes, some serious water damage to internals that we hadn't planned on replacing.


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We had a crane on-site to lift beams into place. I couldn't resist putting my GoPro on the lifting head. Here's a still from the video giving you an awesome birds-eye view of our project.


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The boards that are still white and grey will all be undercover. The project is mainly about creating a big all-weather outdoor living space. We used the HardieDeck system, which is easy to install and has a great finished look. I used them on this project too: Timber-free deck.


November 2018 

Made awesome progress on our renovation. Slowed down a bit now – don't you hate budgets? – but hope to get at least the deck useable by Christmas.



March 2019

We are heading towards being done with stage one. Really happy with how it's looking.

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Most of my shots have been from the inside out. Here's a before and a work-in-progress from a couple of weeks ago of the exterior. 






August 2019


After crazy-long delays for the smallest of reasons, we finally have our outdoor living space finished.

Sadly the rest of the renovation has to come to a grinding halt due to, shall we say, budgetary constraints, but we'll get there eventually.


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Before and after






More inspiration for outdoor areas


Whether a complete backyard makeover or a new deck, fire pit, fence, screen or vertical garden, our clever and creative Bunnings Workshop members are constantly sharing wonderful projects to help transform their outdoor spaces. Find ideas in our Top 10 most popular outdoor projects.


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