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Q and A home renovation

Thanks so much to readers who commented on our home renovation post and asked some questions. As promised here is the Q and A post:

Q: Did you use the kunos for the kitchen bench, floor and window frames? Is it natural or tinted?

A: We used the linseed oil based kunos natural oil sealer on the blackbutt floor, cork floor and kitchen benchtop. We used the clear version. In the photo we are doing the very edge of the floor where it joins the glass sliding door. As the Cedar windows are exposed to a lot more elements outside, we used Sikkens Cetol HLS and Cetol Supernatural.

Q: Some outside comparison photos from your "back fell off the house" post would be wonderful. I'm trying to picture how you took a gable roof and (I'm assuming) made it into one long skillion, with the highest point facing north. I'm trying to place the new inside photos with the old outside ones.

 Here’s the back view of the original house, after the removal of the previous back deck that was installed in the 80’s by previous owners.

And here’s a pic now from the same perspective.

The new part is in an L shape. We left the original roof as it was, and build a ‘joining’ section between the original house and new rooms which feature a pitched roof. You can see this clearly from the side perspective below:

Q: Did you guys have to move out as the house was being remodeled? It looked like a lot of the interior was renovated.

A: We were able to keep the door you see in the picture of the original house on until the final stages of the renovation, which kept the building area quite separate and meant we were able to stay living in the house. There was only half a day here and there when we didn’t have water connected, and a week or so where we didn’t have a kitchen as we removed the existing kitchen and had the new one installed.

Q: I am engaging a sustainable architect to design our renovation coming in the next few months.. any hints or tips on what to do/what not to do? what to expect?

A: A few thoughts from our experience would be – find a sustainable architect whose work you like (visit some of the places they have worked on and speak to the owners if you can) and be open to their ideas but don’t feel like you have to go with all their suggestions. It’s a two way process to come up with the final design and they can modify the plans with your input. It you can, take your time and don’t be in a hurry to finalise the plans, as it’s nice to have the different ideas sit with you for a while before having to commit and finalise the design. We really enjoyed working with our architect – hope it’s a positive experience for you too!   

Q: I love the flooring! Is it cork? It looks so much like wooden floorboards. 

A: Upstairs in the kitchen and main living area we have used blackbutt flooring

Downstairs we’ve used cork in the bedroom, laundry and toilet. We used the Kunos linseed based oil to seal the timber and cork flooring. We love the look and feel of the cork and are so glad we were able to use this great sustainable flooring option.

Q: I'd love to know more about your grey water diversion/reuse? 

A: We reuse water from our washing machine and shower as greywater for the fruit trees in our backyard. We’re lucky that our backyard slopes down from the house, so we don’t need a pump to transfer the water. More about our greywater diversion system and links to government guidelines for greywater reuse is at

Reader Comments (3)

Thanks so much for the photos, I can see how the addition was applied to the original building. It would have saved on labour and materials by leaving the original build alone. It's very minimal to slot in some modular boxes under the eaves. Good idea. I would be tempted to go the whole skillion roof, but then you have to consider the extra time and materials to do that. Pretty awesome that you didn't have to move out too. That would have been challenging with a bub.
September 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Thank you for your website - a great resource. Just wondering where you purchased your cork tiles from?
April 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTanya Patrick
Hi, really enjoyed reading your blog! We too are renovating and enjoy growing preserving s much of our food as possible. Would love to see more of that under bench compost unit. Sadly too cold here for native bees but I am planning on building and putting a top bar hive on the roof of what was the old stables. Cheers, Maree
May 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFergie51

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