“Raj went above and beyond for our project from day one. He took the time to understand our aesthetic and how we wanted to navigate the space.

His expert eye for detail and willingness to collaborate with our builder meant that we were able to troubleshoot potential issues before the build even started. This led to the project being finished on budget and within the timeframe we expected. The end product is everything we hoped for, and we will enjoy for many years to come. Thankyou so much Raj!”

Joyce Renovation

Geelong Project

The design was a very close collaboration between AMG Architects, Client and Jamie Lynch Builders, to revitalise an existing circa 2000’s residential fit-out to a 19th Century Anglican Church, located in Geelong.

Brief: Completely remodelled and renovated the kitchen and meals, bathroom and laundry, bedrooms, open plan living areas and main entry corridor to more closely align with the client’s wants and needs.

Key design features:
The building is a relatively well preserved 19th Century Anglican Church, primarily constructed from local sandstone and bluestone, large timber structural members, Australian hardwood strip flooring, cedar window frames and ceiling lining boards.

An extensive, yet ad hoc renovation to the building was completed in the early 2000’s. A collection of mismatched design elements, materials and finishes, fittings and fixtures, incongruent with the client’s ideologies and tastes. Hence, the key design intention when addressing the above-mentioned areas, was to create a much more unified and harmonious architectural response that was more closely aligned with the client’s ideologies and tastes

Some of the key design decisions included:

  • The kitchen and meals area, would become the primary focal point within the open plan living area. It would feature natural stone and timber, balanced by the use of modern laminates and penny round ceramic tiles.
  • An all-important fourth bedroom/study was designed directly above the kitchen and meals area. In doing so, creating a sense of enclosure and greater definition of this space. The plasterboard ceiling then carefully lined with a combination of Blackbutt and Victorian Ash timber battens with LED strip lighting strategically located in between. A custom-made breakfast table annexes the stone corner island bench unit. Also made from Victorian Ash and Jarrah (to match the existing staircase timber treads). The careful use of timber to create the battened ceiling complimenting the Victorian Ash and Tasmanian Oak timber strip flooring and the laminated timber breakfast table, connection old with new, as well as helping to balance against the use of darker materials; dark grey steel column, black walls, natural stone benchtops, joinery and penny round wall tiles. The existing oven was retained and proudly resides on the back wall, complimenting the surrounding materials and finishes, fittings and fixtures. At the end of the kitchen is a wine rack and bar area, complete with mirror back panel and concealed LED lighting. At the opposite end a fully-equipped walk-in pantry, all hidden behind a large 1.2m wide x 2.1m high cavity sliding door. Located over the breakfast table are three unique handmade glass pendant lights, which define space and place here, while also providing light and atmosphere.
  • The old bathroom and toilet area were completely remodelled featuring very bold and dramatic materials which aligned with the overall design scheme; natural bluestone floor and wall tiles, the same black penny round tiles and stone benchtops used in the kitchen, a recycled and renovated enamel bath complete with chrome claws, illuminated tiled niches above the bath and in the shower as well, oval mirrors which carefully ‘hover’ off the tiled wall above the vanity units, all bathed by southern light from the existing church window, helping to create a simple, streamlined balance between light and dark. Within the toilet is a large illuminated circular mirror, wall-to-wall penny round tiles, generous vanity unit complete with a unique antique gold swan shaped tap, which has become a popular talking point.
  • The master bedroom was completely remodelled to incorporate ample built-in storage, a large 1.2m wide x 2.1m high cavity sliding door, new bedhead shelf with Victorian Ash top to match the floors and other key timber trims and details throughout the renovations.
  • The existing Victorian Ash and Tasmanian Oak timber strip flooring and Jarra staircase treads were all carefully and painstakingly sanded and refinished.
  • The combination of different coloured walls throughout the fit-out painted in a semi-gloss black, creating a much more consistent and uniform aesthetic. The main entry corridor, master bedroom, bathroom and toilet feature traditional flat white ceilings to create a striking and practical contrast to the adjoining walls and darking fittings and fixtures.
  • The old church structure was never properly insulated or sealed. Hence, issues with overheating in the summer and remaining very cold in the winter were key issues which required considerable attention. Only limited insulation and draft-sealing to the antique windows could be achieved. Hence, a new high-efficiency, fully-programmable and zoned heating ventilation and air-conditioning system (HVAC) was installed in the roof space, servicing all of the key living and circulation areas. Now the clients enjoy year-round comfort.
  • An additional fourth bedroom/study was introduced directly above the kitchen. Its shape reflecting the shape of the kitchen plan below. At the narrowest end, exists a feature portal window that overlooks down to the main living spaces below. The entire reveal carefully and painstakingly lined with Victorian Ash and Tasmanian Oak timber boards. Once again, the room features black walls, dark carpets against the use of natural timber trims and details.
  • All of the upstairs bedrooms were fitted with new timber framed windows, providing greater privacy and thermal stability and control, all-year-round.

Ecologically sustainable design principles used:
The original living space was a single open plan, full-height design, which made use of the ecclesiastical design. However, extremely inefficient to heat and cool. However, by introducing the fourth bedroom over the kitchen and windows to the upstairs bedrooms, we could ‘compartmentalise’ many areas of the internal fit-out. This made heating, cooling and ventilation much more practical and energy efficient.

Project Time Frame

  • 6 months initial planning and design.
  • 6 months detailed internal design and specifications.
  • 3 months developing working drawings in combination with the structural engineers, specialist steel fabricators and energy consultants.
  • 9 months construction phase.

Project Budget

Approximately $400K


Editor: Rebecca Gleghorn

Photography: Stefan Young

Video: Karl Nemsow