The thing about renovation is that you never know what you might find when you start peeling back the layers, especially if it’s an old farmhouse. ‘They’re quirky,’ says Simone Mathews, who with husband Ben forms Sydney building firm BAM Construction Group.
Simone, the interior designer, and Ben, the builder, fell in love with the charm of an iconic NSW South Coast farmhouse that dated from the 1800s.
They wanted to restore the Gerringong property and create a new standard of coastal accommodation, moving the whole family down from their Cronulla base for what was supposed to be a working holiday.
But immediately there were challenges when the project kicked off in 2017.
The floors were on a lean so the house had to be restumped, the kitchen, lounge and dining spaces were riddled with asbestos, and then they discovered there had also been termite damage.
While the front part of the farmhouse could be restored, the heart of the home and rear had to be rebuilt from scratch.
But there were also treasures to be found such as the raked ceilings, which had been covered up over the years.
‘As soon as we found them we thought right we have to create them as a feature,’ Simone says.
Then there is the stone fireplace, which Simone calls the hero of the space. It was only about half its original size and left standing in no man’s land when the rear of the house came down.