reno: melissa bonney, kingsford

by - July 21, 2015

Some would say it’s a match made in home heaven. And judging by this recently renovated property in Sydney’s east it would be difficult to argue.

Founder of The Design Hunter retail store and design agency Melissa Bonney and her builder partner Brendon Bott of B2 Construction bought their Kingsford home three years ago with the express purpose of renovating with a view to sell. But now the two-phase renovation is done, Melissa says letting go might be difficult.

“When we were planning this renovation, I was very careful to keep things neutral and only inject a little bit of our personal style because our plan was to sell,” says Melissa. “But now it’s all done and dusted, I think it might be a little harder than we planned to leave this place behind.”

Space for everyone

With the paint barely dry on the second- storey addition, moving on is still a little way off for Melissa and Brendon, their two daughters and one year-old son. It will come as a relief for the girls, who until the second-storey was complete were sharing a bedroom downstairs.

“Everyone was sharing,” says Melissa. “When we started the downstairs renovation we only had the two girls but when the baby came along we were kind of forced into getting the upstairs going pretty quickly.”

The second addition includes three new bedrooms, a new bathroom with a walk-in robe and ensuite adjoining the master bedroom which features a raked ceiling to capture extra height. “It was important to us that everyone had their own space and that we also had room for guests so the girls’ rooms are big enough for whenever they have friends stay over.”

The girls were allowed to help in the design of their rooms and a special inclusion was Porters Paint’s Higgledy Piggledy Stripe wallpaper in Pink Ginger by Anna Spiro. Both rooms also have integrated dressing table nooks in the robes.

Like the first phase of the renovation downstairs, a focus on a neutral palette and natural materials continued upstairs. The master bedroom features a timber wall in blackbutt and custom macrame pendant lights, all complemented by luxurious Bemboka bed linen while new Bottoncino
honed tiles and mosaics add interest in the stylish bathroom.

The perfect foundation

Melissa says the basic materials and colours used for the second storey don’t differ too much from what was originally used on the ground floor downstairs.

“We were very careful that the decisions we made downstairs also worked for the second storey,” she says. “Both Brendon and I do this type of thing every day in our respective jobs so we were very lucky in the sense we knew exactly what we wanted, what would work and also what wouldn’t work. The focus of the renovation was probably the natural materials and a neutral colour palette which both make the property easy to live in and maintain.”

Melissa and Brendon achieved this through the use of concrete and timber floors, solid timber joinery, and natural stone which are all repeated throughout the floorplan to bring a cohesive feel.


The original property was small, cramped and dark — a single-storey semi with three bedrooms, one bathroom and a small kitchen and dining area.

The first priority was to open up the rear of the home and promote the relationship between the indoor and outdoor spaces. “One of the things that was really important to us was a big, open living area,” says Melissa. “We wanted that indoor- outdoor connection because we entertain a lot and always seems to have friends over for a barbecue, especially during summer. We wanted to have a connected living space so that we can be in the kitchen and still be able to watch the kids when they are playing the backyard.”

In addition to this open plan living, kitchen and dining area, the home also has a separate lounge area. “It was a deliberate decision on our part not to have a television in that open-plan space,” says Melissa. “Instead we have a centrally-located living area where we have the TV.”

Storage was another priority and Melissa says she was careful to use every available space for the purpose. “It’s a very easy house to live in because we custom-made storage for exactly what we needed,” she says. “We have hidden storage under the stairs and a nook bed in the roof cavity which all, in turn, maximised the space in all the rooms.”

First published in Home, The Daily Telegraph 13 December 2014
Pictures: Paramount Studios

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