Studio McQueen Blog| Perth Renovations | How to renovate a 1940s cottage (Part 1)

A concept case study on how to renovate a 1940’s cottage (Part 1)

How to renovate a house on a budget? Today I’m doing a different style blog post (with video 🙂 and I’m taking you behind the scene’s of how I would go about re-designing a small 3 x 1 cottage in Palmyra. I’m taking you through my design process and giving you a glimpse of how I work and develop my design concepts, but really it’s a collaboration project between myself and the client.


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So the client has asked me for a concept plan to re-do the kitchen – see the video below and you’ll get a peek inside. After the meeting with the client these are the constraints / issues that need to be addressed if we want the home to work better.

+ We need to keep within the building external walls, to save on costs and avoid council delays. There may be a stage 2 in the future to look at extending out the front to create an ensuite/ WIR.

+ The North facing Patio is not a great position as it blocks all the valuable winter sunlight. Look at possibly changing the patio roof structure to be retractable, this will heat up the home naturally in winter if Windows are placed along the Northern wall.

+ Need to keep the bathroom intact as it’s just had a renovation in the last 6 years and is in good condition.

+ Re-design the kitchen to open out into the Alfresco area and take advantage of this space as an outdoor living alfresco area.

+ Re look at the Bed 2 and see if we can create 2 bedrooms here by taking away space from the dining room. open up the walls around the dining area to create a more open plan feel.











how to renovate a house on a budget


At the in-home consultation, I also go over the client’s ideal style. I get them prepared to get some pictures together or a Pinterest board and we go through an find a style or aesthetic to stick to. It’s important to think about the context of the home too, this is a cute cottage and we don’t want to lose that quaint style and characteristic of the home. In Palmyra these homes once renovated to a quality finish can reap good value so it’s important not to go too modern.  Luckily the clients want to stick to a classic look to enhance the existing architectural features (dado rails in Lounge and hallway and beautiful ceiling roses) but they also like the modern look of thin black minimal lines ~ which we hope to introduce steel glass industrial style doors out to the Alfresco. I think this will be a good even balance of modern style vs a classic cottage look that really suits this style of home.





(Images sourced by: Pinterest)




After I’ve done concept scribbles using trace paper over the existing plan, I start creating a 3d model concept. I like to get an idea of the floor plan but then I also use 3d modelling to get a better idea of how the space will feel and it’s also important to show the client this journey too.



OPTION A PLAN~how to renovate a house on a budget

As you can see I’ve spent a few more hours on this plan and adding some extra details to model the style of the kitchen were going after. The major changes is Bedroom 2 is being divided to create 2 bedrooms and because the clients have small children (ages 3 and 6)  I’ve added foldable stacker doors to be able to open the space up for extra playing area and closed for privacy maybe when they grow up more. Also might look at designing a bunk bed above and below an activity desk area to make the most of the space.

I have relocated the existing L’dry and Wc and moved them over to allow more space into the Kitchen. I have created a walk in Pantry/ Scullery which has easy access to the Alfresco.  Another idea to discuss is creating a step in cupboard style pantry (making the pantry smaller) and incorporated within the rest of the kitchen, then that would open up space even more to the Alfresco area. Then look at pushing the island bench out further and make it bigger.



In this option, I looked at relocating the kitchen in the middle, after doing this plan I felt the space was going for a more modern look (all wall cabinets), and it includes a concealed step-in pantry. The best part to this plan is creating windows along the north side of the home, which in winter (if using a tiled or polished concrete flooring) the winter sunlight will be naturally absorbed into the slab. We would also need to look at costings on this as the existing homes floor level is quite a bit higher than natural ground level. If I was to re-look at this plan I would relocate the kitchen benchtops to create an L shaped layout with an island in the middle and stools looking north, installing a under bench oven and hotplate with a custom range hood (similar to kitchen Option A).


So now after the concept ideas are complete it’s time to set up a meeting with the client, go over each option and discuss the pro’s and cons that suits their lifestyle. From here we finalise the layout, get costings from the builder/ trades and tweak the design to work with the budget.  If you are thinking of renovating and need some design advice, why not book a home consultation with me as a starting point? The home consult is a great opportunity for me to find out about your project, but I am also going to give you my advice as to which design direction you should go how to add more natural light & space into your home. I’m now taking a limited number of bookings and here’s your opportunity to finally start your home renovation (  click here )

Developing the final plan.

Here’s the plan developed further, relocating the pantry into to Kitchen to open up the space and see out to the Alfresco area. I also deleted the island bench as there just wasn’t enough width space so we extended the benchtop on the end to create a breakfast bar area.

Here’s also a video of what changes we made to the concept plan to develop the final plan.




Here’s also a video of what changes we made to the concept plan to develop the final plan.


Here’s a video about the 3d walk through;




Read Part 2: The interior Selections & 3D Renders







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