Experienced renovator sings high praises of DIY VogueWall® pool wall
3 April 2019
Renovations are essentially carefully orchestrated chaos; but with every reno, there are surprises, big and small, waiting to shape the experience. Some present unexpected challenges, like a beautiful baby daughter arriving two months early, right in the middle of a tight build schedule! Others present a perfect solution; like a DIY pool wall that could be designed, ordered, delivered and installed in just 3 weeks’ time. Or that a company is still willing to go above and beyond to achieve a dream outcome for a customer.
We spoke to Kylie Faulkner about the whirlwind experience of her renovation and how VogueWall offered a rapid, simple solution to complete their stunning new pool area, just in time for their baby daughter’s first birthday.
Q. So when did this backyard transformation begin?
Kylie: We started this reno (number 5!) in July 2016. The property is in a great location on the water, with really good bones in terms of the house, but most of the external areas were virtually unusable. A few of the biggest challenges were being a funny shaped block with a long battle-axe driveway, quite a steep slope, lots of different levels and relatively narrow boundaries to adjoining properties.
Q. How did you find this reno experience?
Kylie: We have been very grateful to work with some brilliant trades over our renos and we found the ModularWalls team just as helpful! One of the things we enjoy most is taking unusable spaces and transforming them into beautiful spaces and experiences. The harder the project, we’ve found the more important great trades and innovative building solutions become with helping achieve the results we want, at an affordable price.
Fencing the boundaries for this property to create privacy, but also a clean aesthetic backdrop, was definitely a big challenge. There are retaining walls of different heights and materials on 80% of the boundaries and none of them looked good!
We’re also close to the water and exposed to high winds at times, so we needed a product that was durable and strong enough, but also easy to work in with all the challenging mix of existing footings we had. We could have redone all the retaining walls completely, but the earthworks alone would have quadrupled the cost!
Q. Were there any highlights or ‘speed bumps’ that come to mind?
Kylie: I shouldn’t laugh at this question, but the biggest speed bump for this reno was our little girl arriving 2 months early, right in the middle of the major building work!
In fact, from memory, she arrived the day the kitchen went in and I was talking to our joiners at the hospital (who’d arrived to an empty house) while I was waiting to be prepped for an emergency c-section! I was very calm at the time, but it’s funny to think back on!
Q. How did you approach this stunning new pool area?
Kylie: The pool area was really just a very old and unattractive pool, with a tiny tile strip around it to walk. It was on its own level and not readily accessible, though very close to the house.
The first thing we did was, using the pool level as our guide, to create a consistent surface and one cohesive space across the back of the house — essentially taking five separate little areas and turning them into one big one. We decided to use a concrete slab and tiles to do so, for ease of cleaning and durability, and tied it into the old pool edge that was already there.
The finishing touch — both framing the new area aesthetically and creating a compliant and safe space for our daughter — was the VogueWall. We’ve also opened up the back of the house to look onto the pool area completely; with all the glass, having the space looking good is really important. Installing the modular pool wall created a HUGE transformation!
Q. What were the most important factors for you when deciding on your pool wall?
Kylie: The biggest thing was aesthetic impact — cleaning up the view that the entire living area now looks out onto, as well as finding something easy to work with that would meet all the engineer’s specifications of the old and new slabs and tight boundaries.
It was also really important to us that what we did looked good not just from our side, but also for our neighbours’ sides, who are just lovely people that have trusted and supported our reno the whole way through. So many fencing products have a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ side and it was nice not to feel like we had to make a compromise on what we, or our neighbours, saw!
Q. Were there any challenges?
Kylie: With the old and new slabs, pipework, extensive tree roots and existing retaining wall footings, we really weren’t able to dig footings for the fence. The base plate solution fixed to our existing slab was an absolute must and such a great find!
Q. Why did you choose VogueWall over other wall products?
Kylie: With the wall being such a big visual aspect of the house and completely visible from all downstairs areas, we wanted to be confident it would look good. The house itself is also quite a heavy construction, being quite big with rendered double brick, steel and suspended concrete slabs, so the wall we used really needed to look and feel substantial to balance it aesthetically.
Q. How did you find the DIY experience?
Kylie: At the last minute, we decided to have our little girl’s first birthday at home. We had always really hoped to do so, but with her arriving early, we had gotten quite behind in the reno and had a lot to finish off; there’s nothing like a house full of trades and a sleeping baby for months on end!
Without the wall we couldn’t use the back area, though, because the pool wasn’t safe. When I found ModularWalls online, I spoke to Brodie and explained we had literally 3 weeks until her birthday and just weren’t sure if it was possible to get something done in time. He was incredibly helpful and with a few emails, sketches and calls — with both he and the ModularWalls engineers — we had a plan and the team thought they could get it there in time!
My husband I installed the whole wall (approx 40m) in one day, painting it the next and had our little girl’s birthday two days later! The system was very straightforward to use, absolutely a great product.
Q. And how did you find working with the ModularWalls team?
Kylie: The team were great — very friendly, always followed up and genuinely worked to find a solution that would work for us.
Glenn and Brodie were fabulous — when one of the delivery guys said he couldn’t bring the material up our driveway, they found someone who could and had it sorted straight away. Given they were using a delivery guy that wasn’t the norm just to help us meet our tight timings, they well and truly went above and beyond. We genuinely couldn’t have gotten the wall installed in time if they hadn’t, so we really appreciated it!
They gave us some helpful tips along the way but at no stage did we feel like we were being sold to or pushed in a particular direction. I’d absolutely trust them again for us, or to recommend friends too.
Q. Are you happy with the final result?
Kylie: We’re very happy and in the process of planning another area with ModularWalls. It’s given us a clean, hard-wearing backdrop to our entire outdoor area with essentially zero maintenance. Best of all, here on the beaches, VogueWall isn’t as sensitive to the constant high humidity we get and it’s just lasting so much better than any other walling product we’ve used! Still looking like the day it went in.
Q. Do you have anything else you’d like to add?
Kylie: Just a big thank you!
Create an outdoor space you truly love.