Mouldings, for decorative features such as porticos, arches and architraves, have also evolved.
‘Back then a lot of it was brickwork which would then be rendered and would have taken tradesmen longer to complete. We use concrete now which is more efficient.’
So what advantages do the heritage styles offer modern design?
‘Because of ceiling heights, ventilation was better,’ James says, ‘and the high roof pitches now give greater accessibility to services such as air conditioning. You can actually walk around the roof space. The verandas might make the rooms a bit darker but, facing west across the front of the houses, they ensure that the interiors are shaded and cool.’
Although he has been approached by clients who have moved interstate to build for them there, James says that Heritage remains an Adelaide-focused business. The company caters to the upper-end of the real estate market with some homes selling for over $2 million.
‘But we’re trying to bring it back to the mid-range with attractive homes that are reasonably priced. Most of our homes sell for $600,000 and above.’
He says that the South Australian market is reasonably healthy at present.
‘We’ve got one to two years’ work ahead of us. We only do up to a dozen homes a year but the homes we’ve built lately seem to be getting bigger and taking longer.’
The demand for modern homes built in a heritage style is increasing, he says.
‘They don’t go out of date. My philosophy is to try to blend in rather than stand out. People look at one of our homes and think that it’s a renovated 19th century villa. That’s probably the best compliment that we can receive.’