New life for old school­house

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - Jar­rad Be­van

NOEL Frankham bought his Dul­cot home in 2005 but his fam­ily con­nec­tion to the Fed­er­a­tion school­house goes back gen­er­a­tions.

The Ge­orge St prop­erty was orig­i­nally the Dul­cot School, built in 1899. How­ever, it op­er­ated as a school only be­tween 1900 and 1910, and Noel’s fam­ily has oc­cu­pied it ever since – span­ning four gen­er­a­tions.

Noel, who is the UTAS Pro­fes­sor of Art and Deputy Dean of the Fac­ulty of Arts, bought the house from a cousin who had in­her­ited it from her fa­ther.

He ren­o­vated the prop­erty in 2010 with noted builder De­nis Py­bus.

“I spent a lot of time here as a child when my great un­cle and aunt lived here. I re­mem­ber they were fan­tas­tic cooks,” Noel said.

“I was born here and lived in the next house over when we were kids, moved to Launce­s­ton but came back to the farm.

“We all feel a strong con­nec­tion to this dis­trict … al­most all of the fam­ily has grav­i­tated back here [ at Dul­cot].”

Al­ways a split- level prop­erty, the home’s old­est parts are two steps higher than the new.

The class­room win­dows in what is now the sit­ting room were orig­i­nally set very high, en­sur­ing stu­dents would not be dis­tracted by any­thing out­side.

Low­er­ing those win­dows was one of the first things the Frankhams did when they moved into the school­house. They also added a ceil­ing and di­vided the class­room into two rooms.

The sturdy house was orig­i­nally ori­en­tated to the street, with prac­ti­cally no win­dows at the back.

Noel re­turned the space to one room and knocked the back wall out to cre­ate a liv­ing area with views over nearby Pittwa­ter and a mas­ter bed­room where the “sun climbs into bed with me in the morn­ing”.

When de­sign­ing the ren­o­va­tion, Noel took great care to keep the prop­erty’s pro­por­tions the same and to care­fully blend old and new.

He didn’t want a his­toric house at the front jar­ring with a con­tem­po­rary, con­trast­ing ad­di­tion at the rear.

“Even though from the out­side it still has the look of the school, it now func­tions much more as a house than it ever did,” he said.

In the kitchen, in­stead of a typ­i­cal splash­back, Noel in­stalled a long win­dow that soaks up the western af­ter­noon sun.

One of his favourite fea­tures is the weath­er­board, which can be found in­side the home in the hall­way that joins the liv­ing and sleep­ing spa­ces.

“[ Builder] De­nis Py­bus was ter­rific,” Noel said. “He un­der­stood what I wanted to get out of the house.

“We wanted to re­flect what had al­ready been done to it, use sim­i­lar- qual­ity ma­te­ri­als, but to in­cor­po­rate con­tem­po­rary fea­tures such as big win­dows, bi- fold doors and a kitchen at the cen­tre of the house in­stead of tucked away as an af­ter­thought.

“We re­stored some el­e­ments that had been lost, such as the fire­place and the class­room it­self.

“There is a sense of the orig­i­nal struc­ture in places like the hall that we chose not to plas­ter over.”

An ex­pan­sive deck com­pleted the ren­o­va­tion – a project for which Noel set a strict dead­line.

“My mother turned 80 in 2010 and we had the goal to have her 80th birth­day in the house she was born in,” Noel said.

Noel would love to hear from any­one else in Tas­ma­nia liv­ing in Fed­er­a­tion school­houses. Phone Noel on 6226 1820.

Any­one in­ter­ested in putting their own amaz­ing home up for con­sid­er­a­tion for house of the week can email jes­sica. howard@ news. com. au

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.