SITCHU MAGAZINE As one-third of the renovating powerhouse Three Birds Renovations, co-founder and operations director, Erin Cayless, knows a thing or two about spearheading major property overhauls. But her most recent project hit particularly close to home as she teamed up with her colleagues from Three Birds; Lana Taylor, sales and marketing director and co-founder, and Bonnie Hindmarsh, design director and co-founder, to transform her own family home in Sydney’s Hills District. Delivering her vision of an urban-inspired farmhouse, this collaboration marked a very special chapter in their careers. “Tackling a project so close to our hearts allowed Erin to inject more personal preferences which differ from the way we run client projects, where they hand over their keys and all creative control to us,” the Three Birds team shares of the sentimental renovation. When the sprawling property, dubbed ‘House 16,’ was bought, Erin and her husband Nathan knew right away that it had great bones, with high ceilings and beautiful features giving the home undeniable potential. However, the brick exterior and terracotta roof dated it, and the tired interior needed a serious refresh to reflect their style and life as a busy family with three teenagers. The Three Birds group always uses the methodology of creating a vision board, and they landed on the brief of a cool urban farmhouse for Erin’s family home. “This becomes set in stone, and our vision doesn’t change throughout a project,” they explain of their process. “We wanted the classic charm of a farmhouse but with a stylish, modern, urban edge — so no frilly curtains or plaid furnishings!” Inside, the design echoes the urban farmhouse theme, blending elegant textures and materials. Timber features are prominent, from Woodcut engineered timber flooring downstairs to boucle carpet from EC Carpets upstairs. The kitchen, the epicentre of the home for the family, features timber-look cabinetry and a stone-walled fireplace, creating a cosy yet modern feel. The choice of furniture in the living areas underscores the farmhouse aesthetic with a modern twist. The family lounge boasts an oversized Jean Jumbo Modular lounge from MCM House in a green-washed linen. The open-plan living area has a smaller Lune boucle sofa from Freedom, its curved edges enhancing the sense of space and defining the living area. The exterior received the most dramatic makeover, starting with the roof. “This house has a lot of roof, and because it’s slightly lower than the road, you can see almost every inch of it,” the trio says. They opted for Lysaght Snapseam steel roofing in Basalt, a deep, cool grey that provided a modern, sleek look. Outside, the pool, cabana, lawn and tennis court areas only needed a quick refresh. “We put in new waterline tiles and paving around the pool, a new pool fence, fresh paint, and a tidy up of the cabana.” The transformation continued with the addition of Hardie Oblique cladding and Artisan Exterior Calcario stone walling. The new windows and doors feature black frames from Stegbar, adding to the contemporary farmhouse feel. “We used the stonewalling to bring dimension to the facade, adding warmth against the grey and black of the rest of the exterior,” they reveal. For a family with three teenagers, functionality was as important as style. Each child’s bedroom has a queen-size bed, built-in wardrobes, and desks to maximise storage and comfort. The entertainment spaces were a priority for Erin, who loves hosting. The porch was expanded into a roomy, covered area, perfect for outdoor dining. The internal staircase was relocated to the front of the entry to fully optimise the floor plan, a hard but rewarding decision. “Getting the stairs just right is always a challenge,” the trio reflects. Erin is most proud of how her long-anticipated vision came to life. “It is just beyond what I thought it could be,” she says. And the feeling is mutual with her colleagues beaming: “We’re so thrilled to have finally brought Erin’s dream home to life.” Interior Design: Three Birds Renovations @threebirdsrenovations Build: Classic Quarters Group @classicquartersgroup Photography: Chris Warnes, @chriswarnes Words: Bella Brennan @bellarosebrennan Explore More Stylish Homes Peek inside exquisite properties and boutique accommodation across Australia and hear what inspired the architects, interior designers and homeowners. “We wanted the classic charm of a farmhouse but with a stylish, modern, urban edge — so no frilly curtains or plaid furnishings!” — Erin Cayless