Preston Lane Architects, with whom HIA member Ben has been working with for a couple of years, came up with a clever design that took advantage of the northerly aspect, created a welcoming space and drenched it with natural light, utilising skylights and large windows.
In the old part of the house a new master bedroom was created, with a new ensuite, bathroom, and concealed laundry, while the end room was opened up to become a skylighted living area that stepped down about half a metre to an extension.
This extension provided a new kitchen and dining area, with its brick and polished concrete slab base ensuring plenty of thermal mass for winter warming. It also opens out onto a back ground deck and the garden.
Ben says anything that could be salvaged from the demolition of the rear, eastern facade was recycled, including 2500 convict-made red clay bricks hand cleaned by the owners, which went into the extension base and back stairs, and Tasmanian oak floorboards where possible.
The house was cut off at the line of the old French doors and the extension now steps down onto a suspended slab, built off a steel frame sitting on the brickwork. A steel and timber frame for the external walls, and a steeply angled roof, is key to the play with light and volume which creates the impression of more space than there is.
‘You come into the old section and step down those three or four steps into the new area. The floor level goes down and the ceiling level is raised, so it feels like you’re walking into this really grand area,’ Ben says.
‘It gives an amazing feel. Everyone walks in there and says, “Wow, this is magic”.’