More than one direction
COMBINING two households into one on a suburban block, while also addressing issues such as energy effi ciency and reducing everyday running costs sounds like a lot of hard work, right?
For Rick Lette and Caroline Wells, the hardest part of the project was fi nding a rental property to temporarily live in that allowed pets.
With the aid of Dock4 Architecture’s Richard Loney, the pair were able to beautifully renovate the 1940s Mt Stuart residence which Caroline’s mother Margaret had called home for the past 20 years.
The eight- month remodel was completed in September this year and incorporates selfcontained accommodation for Margaret in the downstairs extension.
“We looked at Margaret’s needs, our current needs for a smaller house and my future needs depending on how my condition ( motor neuron disease) progresses,” Rick said.
“We also wanted a smaller environmental footprint, which is something we’ve been able to achieve.
“We get all this magnifi cent sunlight and even during winter we’ve had to turn on the air- conditioner to cool the house down.”
Double- glazed windows in the new section of the house, reconditioning the original windows to exclude drafts and converting to gas have all improved the home’s effi ciency and running costs.
“We’d still like to lessen the environmental impact with some solar panels and rainwater collection but we had a list of things we’d like and things we needed,” Rick said.
“These things were wants rather than needs so we had to leave them for later.”
Externally, timber, metal and cement sheets create a mix of textures and colours while the inside features semi- industrial components, but the house overall retains a warmth to it, complemented by bits and pieces picked up in the couple’s travels such as hand- blown Venetian glass and Egyptian fabrics displayed on the wall.
“We wanted the old and the new sections to be distinctive but to retain some continuity so they didn’t look too different,” Rick said.
Caroline agreed. “I like that you can look at the front of the house and have no idea what’s happening at the back.”
The extension includes Margaret’s living space, which has its own entrance, kitchen, bathroom and separate bedroom with walk- in wardrobe.
A timber deck with views to Mt Direction and down the Derwent sits on top of this addition.
The original section of the house comprises Rick’s study, the master bedroom, a second bedroom on one side and the kitchen, dining and lounge on the other.
The centrepiece of the home, the kitchen, is Rick and Caroline’s favourite space.
“I like the way you can come in and the kitchen, lounge and dining fl ow so well but you
can still go in the lounge and feel cosy; you don’t feel like you’re in a great big open- plan area,” Caroline said.
“It has the feel of apartment living in the suburbs, you could be anywhere really.”