Advice and learnings

My Boston Ivy Green Wall

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After buying my first apartment in the 90’s, then moving into a duplex with a common wall, I decided my idea of heaven would be to find a free standing double story house that I could renovate and finally build my ‘forever’ dream home. The reality came true 3 years ago.

After almost two years of deciding final plans and council approvals, I selected my builders and created this site to take people on the journey of the knock-down/rebuild of my home.

Having never taken on a project of this size it was a true learning curve and I thought it would be fun to open the experience up to others, so I could share the ups and downs of renovating my home. A full warts and all look into the realities of renovating and the stresses that come with it.

I don’t think I fully appreciated the enormity of the project…but then why would you when you’ve never undertaken a project of this size? I had only ever renovated a bathroom which basically meant retiling and choosing some taps!

I had a very clear picture of the house I wanted to create…a true beach house, not a house at the beach. I wanted a Hamptons style house with plenty of detail, weatherboard exterior, large, open, vaulted ceiling with exposed beams, all white with timber panelling throughout. I wanted the house to feel like its had been there for years…classic and timeless.

The transformation has been amazing, and I’m thrilled with the result but the journey has had its fair share of challenges, including an unexpected change of architects etc. I have learned to go with the flow and accept necessary changes from the original design. I basically project managed the build which turned out to be a full-time job. Thankfully I could take off the time to do so because if I didn’t, there would have been obvious mistakes.

Floor plans are significantly different to what the actual space feels like and working with a new architect, it became clear the original plans has some design faults. Especially round the size of window openings. They were small and limited the natural sunlight coming in. So, the design decision was made to enlarge the external windows and make them floor to ceiling…creating a massive glass wall in the study and ground floor bathroom.

The rooms look out onto the neighbour’s boundary brick wall and we decided to include an ivy planted wall into the landscaping design to eventually cover the wall, light it for night and create a feeling of bringing the outside into the two rooms.  Especially the bathroom where you would shower looking out to a green wall. The side of the house is fully secured and private, so it became a lovely design element to what was going to be a fairly bland bathroom.

When the house was taking shape, it became apparent that the ivy wall would need years to fully cover the bricks and I’d be looking out onto a very dull wall. Which would make you wonder why I had such a huge glass wall looking onto to nothing…

I remembered going to the Sydney Home Show and seeing these artificial green walls and hedges and being so impressed I’d kept the pamphlet. So I did a bit of research and decided that it would be far easier and practical to have an entire brick wall covered in artificial Boston Ivy. I loved the idea that it required no maintenance, no watering, no clipping and looked incredibly real.

When the builders had finished installing I couldn’t believe the difference!! That bathroom went from being clean and simple in design to outstanding and a stunner of a bathroom!

My office now has a feeling of space and your eye goes all the way out to the green ivy wall giving you a subtle connection to the outside. It really does bring the outside in. Light, airy and interesting. I’ve had some fabulous comments from people who just love it and can’t believe it is artificial. The fact I could order it in square meters and cover the wall perfectly was fantastic. It has become such an unexpected design feature and made those two rooms into something special!

Honestly, if you have a wall that needs instant ‘green’ love, I wouldn’t hesitate using Designer Plants!

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