The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - writes Re­nata Gortan

Jacaranda trees may only bloom for a short time in spring, but when this fam­ily needed to ex­tend their home, the prime con­sid­er­a­tion was pre­serv­ing the mag­nif­i­cent spec­i­men on the side of the site.

So when in­te­rior de­signer Nathalie Sci­p­i­oni of NS Stu­dio was plan­ning the ex­ten­sion to the in­ner-west prop­erty, she po­si­tioned the liv­ing spa­ces to frame the tree.

“The brief was to keep the space around this tree,” she says. “You can see it from the kitchen so I cre­ated a small court­yard around it and used lots of glass so you can still see it.”

While all that glass helped frame the tree, it had an added ben­e­fit.

“I wanted to create more cross ven­ti­la­tion,” Nathalie says. “There is an­other court­yard in be­tween the mas­ter bed­room and liv­ing room so there are three sets of glass walls that you can open up and get a good breeze through.

“I use glass to max­imise the light. The high ceil­ing helps to make the space big­ger.”

Kitchen con­fer­ence

That wasn’t the only re­quire­ment when it came to the kitchen. The owner had a clear idea of how the space should flow.

“A be­spoke kitchen with a ca­sual din­ing ta­ble in­te­grated into the bench­top en­cour­ages peo­ple to come to­gether,” Nathalie says.

“The din­ing area is lower than the bench­tops and we worked with the joiner to use a tim­ber top the owner had found.”

The kitchen is all in one line, with the sink, stove and fridge all on the same side be­cause the owner didn’t want the sink on the bench­top. A but­ler’s pantry and laun­dry is hid­den away.

“It fits in well and the bench­top flows on to the in­for­mal din­ing area. The change in ma­te­ri­als and lev­els dis­tin­guish the two spa­ces,” Nathalie says. “The kitchen is quite cen­tral so you can see the kids in the swim­ming pool as well as the rest of the space.”

Front to back

In­stead of start­ing from scratch, the orig­i­nal cot­tage was pre­served and the con­tem­po­rary ex­ten­sion added to the rear.

By re­tain­ing tra­di­tional el­e­ments, such as the stained glass win­dows and the orig­i­nal stove, which was re­lo­cated to the new bath­room, the prop­erty’s his­tory has been in­te­grated into the newer part of the house.

“The own­ers wanted to keep the stove but thought it couldn’t be in an open space, so I sug­gested in­cor­po­rat­ing it in the en­suite, which they em­braced,” Nathalie says.

The front of the orig­i­nal three-bed­room cot­tage was re­tained while the old ve­randa and laun­dry at the back of the house was de­mol­ished in favour of a fourth bed­room,

the open kitchen and sec­ond liv­ing area.

“The bath­room is in the same po­si­tion but we com­pletely re­mod­elled it and made it big­ger,” Nathalie says. “The orig­i­nal liv­ing room be­came the in­for­mal lounge and the old din­ing room be­came the en­suite, which was a way for us to keep the stove. We wanted to keep the feel­ing of the cot­tage, but open it to a mod­ern ex­ten­sion. It was im­por­tant to see the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two.”

The old and new parts of the home are sep­a­rated by a slid­ing door, with a small set of steps which cre­ates a fur­ther di­vi­sion.

“Be­cause it’s a slop­ing block, we kept the orig­i­nal part of the house at the ex­ist­ing level and dropped the new ad­di­tion two lev­els so there are four steps,” Nathalie says.

“When there’s a big slope, I like to have the open space con­nected to the out­door area and use steps in­side the house. It can work well to sep­a­rate the two ar­eas.”

A nat­u­ral high

There wasn’t a lot of nat­u­ral light in the orig­i­nal dwelling so that was some­thing Nathalie fo­cused on for the ren­o­va­tion.

“The brief called for a light and open space that con­trasted the bound­aries of the orig­i­nal dwelling,” Nathalie says.

“The site was rel­a­tively wide and can feel a bit blocky, so with the high ceil­ings in a big space we cre­ated a set­back to de­lin­eate the dif­fer­ent spa­ces,” she says. “The mas­ter bed­room is at the same level as the orig­i­nal house and look­ing through the court­yard you see the liv­ing room is lim­ited by the set back, which makes the din­ing area more en­closed.”

A ca­sual din­ing area has been cre­ated in the kitchen with a tim­ber table­top ex­tend­ing from the is­land bench­top.

The new pool com­plete with glass fenc­ing is vis­i­ble from the in­ter­nal liv­ing spa­ces.

Pic­tures Penny Clay

High ceil­ings and lots of glass create gen­er­ous liv­ing spa­ces that flow into each other.

Stained glass win­dows and tra­di­tional plas­ter­work main­tain the char­ac­ter of the orig­i­nal cot­tage.

The old kitchen stove has found a new home in the en­suite.

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