Builder Chris De Stratis collaborated with Angelucci Architects to transform a compact Carlton North 1885 Victorian Terrace, creating a unique home split over 3 levels for his family. With a passion for restoring Victorian Terraces, Chris cleverly utilises every inch of the available 120 sqm space, whilst simultaneously paying homage to the area’s architecture. We chatted with Chris to learn more about this clever and creative renovation.
What original features did you retain with the renovation?
To bring our vision to life, we had to completely demolish the inside of the house. The only original feature that remains is the front facade, which we restored and embellished with porch tiles from a boom style Victorian terrace I worked on in Fitzroy North.
What were the biggest challenges in this project?
The basement was a major undertaking. Not only due to having to drill through two metres of blue stone but also because of how small the property is, there was minimal space to work around the 13-tonne excavator. We also had to make sure the original heritage wall was kept in tack, so it was challenging to say the least.
What are your favourite elements of the house?
I have always been fascinated with slate. When we were drafting the façade, I knew I wanted to incorporate it. We had some push back from the council, and it was rejected at first. Then when we began the works, we found slate in the original roof, so we went back through council and after a long process we got it over the line. The outcome was well and truly worth it, the inspiration for the fish scale design, funnily enough, came from a dripping ice-cream. I also love the unique Japanese tiles used throughout the interiors; they add so much character to the small space.
Can you share with us your top three tips for anyone embarking on a renovation?
1. Have a budget contingency plan to cover any unexpected costs during the renovation
2. Make sure you work with the right people. Before bringing on a contractor, view their previous work and call their references
3. Consider lead times for materials
Can you tell us about your career journey?
I knew from an early age I wanted to be a builder. My father was a carpenter and would regularly bring me to work with him. While I was doing my apprenticeship in carpentry, I attended night school to get my diploma in building and construction. By the time I was 23, I had built my first house in Fitzroy North.
View the Carlton North Look Book.