Sec­ond na­ture

How a de­sire to con­nect to the gar­den changed ev­ery­thing for one fam­ily

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - Pic­tures Prue Rus­coe and Robert Walsh

While some ren­o­va­tion projects re­sem­ble a cube-shaped ex­ten­sion at­tached to an ex­ist­ing house, this project shines for its out-of-the-box ap­proach.

Sit­u­ated in Queens Park in Syd­ney’s east, the home sits among a row of sim­i­lar homes.

Rather than knock down the sin­gle-storey home, which was run­down at the back, the own­ers chose to re­tain the front two rooms, pre­serv­ing the orig­i­nal fa­cade, and start the new work be­hind the ex­ist­ing build­ing ridge.

They wanted the new in­te­rior to have a strong con­nec­tion with the back gar­den.

The ap­pear­ance of the ex­ten­sion from the front was key so they opted for a design that grad­u­ally folded off the front roof.

“Quite a com­mon ap­proach is to stick a box on the top, which we tried to avoid be­cause it doesn’t in­te­grate very well with the ex­ist­ing house,” ar­chi­tect Madeleine Blanch­field says.

Screen saver

To link the ex­te­rior of old and new, hun­dreds of painted tim­ber ba­tons were metic­u­lously screwed into place and be­came a dec­o­ra­tive fea­ture, sit­ting above a new Color­bond roof.

Those ba­tons form screens over some of the win­dows of the house.

With the tim­ber ba­tons an eye-catch­ing fea­ture, it was de­cided to echo the ef­fect in­ter­nally around the new stair­case.

“It was an un­usual space that we cre­ated with all those folds,” Madeleine says.

“We lined it on the in­side and as you walk in you can un­der­stand what’s hap­pen­ing be­tween the old and the new.”

The home’s up­per level con­tains four bed­rooms and the mas­ter bed­room in­cludes a lux­u­ri­ous en­suite and walk-in robe.

Down­stairs, the de­tail­ing in the orig­i­nal rooms was re­tained. They have be­come an en­try hall and study/guest room. Fur­ther on are the laun­dry and bath­room, as well as a rum­pus room with big slid­ing tim­ber doors.

On the level

The orig­i­nal house sat about a me­tre above ground level out the back. Madeleine dropped the floor level of the new liv­ing and din­ing space which al­lowed for tall ceil­ings as well as level ac­cess to the back­yard.

The new ex­ten­sion has a sim­ple pal­ette with shades of grey and a gen­er­ous use of mar­ble and tim­ber. Well placed win­dows en­sure the space is filled with light.

“The idea was to keep ev­ery­thing pared back and bring in warmth through the fur­ni­ture,” Madeleine says.

The view across the back­yard in­cludes a wall of random ash­lar stone sit­ting just be­hind the new swim­ming pool. The wall con­ceals the triple garage, which is po­si­tioned un­der­neath a new up­stairs stu­dio.

Over­all, Madeleine and the own­ers are thrilled with the fin­ished prod­uct, with the house in­side seem­ing much big­ger than it looks from the street.

“It’s al­ways a rea­son­ably stress­ful thing to do, build­ing, but I think the own­ers would say it was worth it,” Madeleine says.

This project was re­cently short-listed for an In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tects award.

Septem­ber 30, 2017

The new open-plan liv­ing area has di­rect ac­cess to the gar­den and swim­ming pool.

The front fa­cade was re­freshed but oth­er­wise un­changed.

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