Bronte is a charming beachside suburb situated just seven kilometres to the east of Sydney’s CBD, its hilly streets dotted with period homes built in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
When Aaron Chow, builder and owner of Prime Form Construction, was contracted to build an extension onto the back of one of the suburb’s oldest weatherboard cottages, he knew he was in for a challenging, and rewarding, few months.
‘Old timber houses just warp over the years. This one was challenging in its own way – it definitely required a little bit more work than most other projects,’ he says.
The project was designed by Sam Crawford Architects for a young family. The brief, while relatively open design-wise, included three imperatives: preserve the picture-perfect, historically significant original home; open up the rear for extra bedrooms and open-plan living; and maximise the energy efficiency of the interiors.
Prime Form Construction, which has been a member of HIA for some 20 years, specialises in building bespoke, architect-designed homes and renovations across Sydney.
Although the Bronte house is the first time Aaron has worked with Sam Crawford Architects, the collaboration bore outstanding results, with immaculate workmanship delivering clarity and polish to the architect’s restrained, minimalist vision.
The extension rises two storeys high from the rear of the cottage. While the team was at pains to preserve certain elements of the 19th-century aesthetic in the interiors of the original structure (the original brickwork around the fireplace being one such design feature), the extension is unapologetically modern: crisp white walls, set off by the exposed concrete ceilings, black anodised window frames and lights, and American oak flooring.