thirroul two
alterations & additions

Alterations and additions to early 1900’s cottage in Thirroul featuring a new kitchen, laundry and garage.



Works included:

  • New garage to side of house
  • New pergola and decking to rear and side of house
  • Demolition of existing kitchen and laundry
  • New kitchen and laundry
  • Minor alterations, restoration and maintenance to existing house
  • New storage area under house

“I came across John Van unexpectedly when we moved to Thirroul four years ago. Our 1912 weatherboard house needed work but we were worried about engaging a builder, having had an unpleasant experience when extending our house in Sydney. For many weeks I walked the dogs around Thirroul looking at similar cottages to ours where work was in progress. One day I passed a house where the renovation was not only sensitive to the cottage style but the quality of the work appeared to be high. Everything looked well-organised. The site was tidy, building materials neatly stacked and a Skip Bin for the rubbish. Protective coverings were placed on the wooden hall floor. The builder’s sign said ‘John Van’. A young woman carrying a baby emerged and I asked her if she was happy with her builder. She said with a smile that she was. He was her husband. I decided to give John Van a go. Plans were delivered and a meeting arranged. My husband and I were immediately impressed by John’s polite manner. We learned about his interest in older houses, his having worked with the conservation architects Maisie and Ian Stapleton whose knowledge of Australian domestic housing styles highlighted the importance of similar attitudes in builder and owner if the typical architectural features are to be retained when bringing a building up to date. It seemed that our railwayman’s cottage would be in good hands.

We engaged John Van to do our renovation. From start to finish he was professional, available and a very good builder. He was on-site every day, working and ensuring that supplies arrived and sub-contractors were briefed. As I was the project leader I appreciated his well-considered advice and building expertise. He understood the vernacular cottage perfectly in his construction of a new rear verandah with chamfered posts, mitred corners and carved brackets,; with finished internal joinery, installing double-hung sash windows letting in much-needed sunlight, architraves, new timber ceilings and doors, kitchen brickwork and rendering , a pretty garage, a new corrugated iron roof and painting. The site (our home) was treated with respect and the sub-contractors were gentlemanly. The work was completed without any delays.

Renovations are tedious at the best of times but John and his crew made experience as painless as possible. I would not hesitate to recommend John Van Building Services and most particularly John Van himself. He is honest, clear-thinking and careful and justifiably proud of his work. Our cottage is testament to his good work. We now live in a comfortable home surrounded by good workmanship. We are fortunate to have had John Van as our builder”