This striking dual occupancy project, led by incredible DevelopHer Amy Lunardi, represents a collaboration filled with dedication and creativity. In this blog we explore Amy’s meticulous planning, thoughtful design choices, how she overcame challenges through perseverance and brought together a team that could execute her vision to perfection.
Tell us about this project – what did you see in the property?
The property was being sold off-market, and I had sent some of my clients to inspect it. Ultimately, they decided it was too much work for them, but I saw its potential as a development site with a generous right of way, allowing us to have parking at the rear and enough space to build two generously proportioned townhouses.
We know you agonised over the façade, ensuring the street presence was truly special. What was your inspiration, and how did you communicate this to your design team?
We wanted to build properties that hadn’t been ‘done’ yet in Coburg. There were quite a few similar townhouses with a similar vibe both internally and externally. The facades’ shape had been tested in other inner suburbs with good outcomes, and our architect had a lot of experience with this dual occupancy design. Originally, the facades were a darker colour with grey bricks, but I really wanted a brighter colour scheme. So, we swapped everything to white with a beautiful timber door.
These floor plans are well apportioned, getting the flow right on the floor plan is crucial. How did your experience as a buyer’s advocate help you know what to include?
There’s only so much you can fit onto a site when developing due to restrictions like side and front setbacks. In our case, we needed a large front setback, giving the property a lovely street appeal but requiring careful consideration of internal spaces. A walk-in pantry and full-size laundry were essential for functionality and extra storage options. Having a butler’s pantry meant the kitchen didn’t need to be as large, allowing us to focus on a spacious living area. The master bedroom has a real ‘wow’ factor with soaring ceilings, and we added some extra features like a makeup bench and built-in bedhead – it’s a truly lovely space.
You’ve opted for a subtle and light colour scheme – quite different from other projects in the area. They are neutral with personality. What was your guidance here, and how did you have the confidence to be more playful?
We originally designed the colour scheme with Rebeka from BuildHer back in 2021, which was relatively light but had more pink terrazzo and timber cabinetry. However, just before final decisions on materials, I changed my mind about the ‘vibe.’ Rebeka helped redesign the entire interior color scheme, choosing the bathroom terrazzo tile first and basing the rest of the design around it. The design has been well-received as it’s different from other townhouses in the area, crowd-pleasing yet creative.
You had a great relationship with your builder Code Black & Ibstar Build – how did you ensure this was successful and you were both on the same page?
Code Black and Ibstar have been phenomenal, making the entire process seamless. Considering how stressful builds can be, their guidance and expertise have been invaluable. From slab to handover, it took less than a year to build with very few unforeseen challenges. Shannon and Ibby were exceptionally patient with me as I made some last-minute changes and asked a lot of questions. Communication is the most important element in the relationship between builder and client.
What have you loved about this project?
I loved the entire process of seeing a concept become a reality and our vision come to life. We purchased the block in late 2020, had some delays with planning and council, so it’s been a long work in progress. It was satisfying being involved in every step from identifying the site to design, interiors, and the build stage. I mostly loved the learning process as my builders and architect were super helpful, explaining everything to me and allowing me to make decisions and changes throughout.
What have you learned from this development?
The key thing I learned is that sometimes you have to politely but persistently nag people to get things done. During the planning permit application stage, we had some unforeseen delays with council, and I ended up taking the reins – calling council and their various departments regularly to follow up, ask for updates, and expedite the process. Once I started doing this, everything seemed to speed up, and we could have saved about 6 months in planning if I’d done this from the start.
Will you do it again?
Absolutely! While it has been a challenge juggling the development with full-time jobs and family, it’s been an enjoyable and rewarding process. We have the perfect team around us now and would use every single one of them again for our next project.
And, if anyone was thinking of working with BuildHer Collective for Interior Design, what would you say, and should they become a DevelopHer?
ABSOLUTELY. I couldn’t have done it without the support of BuildHer. Not only due to Rebeka’s guidance but the skills I’ve learned over the years as a member of BuildHer and the members’ Facebook group. They can solve any design issue or concern. It has meant I have a stunning product and 1000% took the stress out of the design/decision-making process where I would have constantly questioned myself and lacked confidence in making choices. I’m the type of person who knows what looks good but finds it hard to implement it, which is where BuildHer has been invaluable.
Interiors: @buildhercollective @rebeccakpapas
Real Estate: @jono.west and @nelsonalexanderrealestate
Inspired by Amy Lunardi’s success in transforming townhouses into unique and profitable ventures? If you’re eager to explore the world of developing for profit, just like Amy, book a FREE 20-minute call with us HERE. We’d love to discuss your ideas and aspirations!