Lana Taylor Creates her Forever Home
It took years of wishing, hoping and finally planning, but one-third of the Three Birds Renovations team – Lana Taylor – has created her ‘forever’ home. A white-on-white Mediterranean oasis in Sydney’s northern suburbs. Taylor’s home is the sixth renovation for the powerhouse Three Birds team and the one with the biggest stakes.
Their previous projects have involved buying an affordable house in need of a makeover, unleashing their renovating magic and reselling it for a healthy profit. This project, however, was their toughest challenge yet.
“It was by far and away the biggest reno,” says Taylor. “It was the biggest piece of land; it was the biggest house. We have never done a three-storey house before. We have never done structural change that needs a one tonne beam to hold up the house – we had to crane in a beam over the roof to hold up the house while we removed all the walls.”
“Plus the stakes are so much higher because I was going to live with every design decision we made for 15 to 20 years. Whereas with our other flipped properties, while we still try and make all the right decisions and are always delighted with the results, the reality is we don’t live in that house afterwards. So it just put a lot of pressure on the decision-making because I was going to live with it.
“The whole project took six to seven months, which in our world is a long time. We have always done six to eight-week renovations before.”
Choosing the Right Roof Makes a World of Difference
And what a renovation it was – nothing was left untouched, including the roof. The original terracotta roof matched the house, which was a relic of the ’80s passion for Tuscany. As the project unfolded and Taylor developed the aesthetic she wanted for the house, it was clear the roof had to change.
“To be honest, at first, the roof was not at the forefront of my consideration when I was starting to design the house and I think that’s a common problem,” Taylor says. “I think it is an oversight not to think about your roof early in the piece because it can make or break the look of your house.
“When I really honed in on the design aesthetic of my house being white on white – that look, that Mediterranean look, it just became completely apparent to me that the roof had to be white, or very light. When I realised that, I just knew that the house would be a mere shadow of itself if I did not address the roof.”
In conjunction with Monier, Taylor chose her perfect white roof tiles – Elabana concrete tiles in a brand new colour – “For me the roof is one of my favourite aspects of the whole house. I seriously stand on the landing on my stairs and look out and see the roof. And I just stare at it and say ‘how beautiful is that?’.”
As for the tile’s profile, true to form, the social media-savvy Taylor took inspiration from Instagram.
“I wasn’t sure about the profile – should it be a flat shingle-style roof, or curved? I saw an image on Instagram that was of a roof in Bali that was curved and white. And when I saw that I just knew instantly that the tile I had to do on that main part of the roof, that pitched part of the roof at the front of the house had to be the Elabana profile, but in a new modern colour.
“What I love about that tile is that it’s such a classic shape. They are these beautiful curves, like half clay pipes all over the house and to me that’s a very Mediterranean feel and I think it suited the original style of the house.
“The exterior didn’t change that much, except for the colours. So I think having that traditional shape tile is really important to work with the exterior of the house.
Introducing Monier Salt Spray
Of course, then it got a little trickier because she also wanted to tile the roof of the new extension section of the house – a new open-plan kitchen and living area – which had a much flatter pitch.
Previously, the only option for consumers facing flat roofs would be metal, which Taylor didn’t see as an option for her. The reputation of Monier and its ability to provide long-lasting colour, along with protection for her family, meant she was determined to have a tiled roof. Luckily, the recent arrival of Monier’s new Elemental tile series has changed the options available.
“The Elemental roof tile was totally suitable and that comes in all different sizes,” she says. “I went for the Ultra panel, which is 1500 wide and it actually looks like large pavers outside the window on that bottom roof. For me that was very important because the house is three storeys high and that extension area is only one level high. You can see the roof from a lot of other parts of the house – you look down onto it. So the aesthetic of that roof was very important to me and I didn’t want the aesthetic of a tin roof.
“But the Monier Elemental Ultra panels look like something no one has ever seen before.I believe I’m the first house in the country with them. So that’s really exciting and I think a nice big large panel was ideal. I didn’t want the roof to be too busy because it is so visible, and it was a very large expanse of flat roof, so the Ultra panel was perfect – and again I matched the colour to the Elabana tile (in Salt Spray).
“Looking out of the window to that light colour was a lovely option. It looks like a Santorini courtyard – but it’s actually my roof.”
Learn more about the new colour, Salt Spray.