The clients of this renovation and extension project had been in their 2 bedroom weatherboard cottage home for 7 years, had two young daughters and were looking to make their home suitable for the future needs of their family. Set in an idyllic urban-barnyard setting, complete with resident dog, cat, chickens and honey bees, this project presented unique opportunities to address the challenge of maintaining a comfortable ambience while providing a contemporary design solution tailored to the client’s brief.
The design creates two distinct zones for living; it retains the original house, with some internal reconfiguration, as the private bedroom, bathroom and utility spaces and locates the living spaces in the extension to the rear. The two zones are separated by a ‘link’ area, a transition space, marked by a compressed ceiling height and colour differentiation. The threshold between the old and the new is celebrated yet slightly blurred.
The brief for the living spaces was to incorporate both open plan and more secluded living zones to enable communal family living, flexible guest accommodation and more private living zones as their family needs change over time. A large kitchen and dining area is located at the ‘heart of the home’ with two additional living areas, separated by large format sliding panels, located adjacent to this central space. Connection to the rear yard is achieved through glazed sliding doors that open to an outdoor entertaining area and a window box seat that looks over the yard.
The exterior concept references the traditional gable geometry and timber cladding of the existing house and rustic timber shed to the rear, yet employs a contemporary approach with sympathetic yet distinctly different materials and detailing. The extension is clearly an addition, but one that responds to and enhances the overall visual composition of the site without trying to replicate or mimic its components.
This project has been equally about the larger gestures of spatial planning and form as it has been about the small moments that give it character and bring the personalities and nuances of the clients into the design. Timber joinery highlights provide warmth and continuity throughout the spaces as do bricks salvaged from the demolition and reused as the new hearth. The basketweave brick pattern is further referenced throughout, in the layout of tiles to kitchen, bathroom and laundry, a discreet nod to the evolution of the home.