The existing intact Queenslander maintains its strong street presence and continuity with the areas heritage. Hints of the ‘Garden Pavilion’ peek up over the carport, visible yet ostensibly recessed to reduce its impact on the current heritage street character. A strong entry axis is formed to draw visitors to the rear of the site and allow the street garden to be separated to form part of the heritage parent zone of the house. The carport and entry driveway are both designed to allow future flexibility of use as active zones for the children to play basketball, table tennis etc in all weather conditions.
The large established trees on site are maintained and used as framing elements setting up boundaries and establishing key sight lines and a layered garden to create a series of garden ‘rooms’. A rainforest garden is established in the lowest part of the site with a winding ethereal path, a connection to the original rainforest landscape of the area. The edgings and courts are built of the local red brick and are reflected by key internal feature elements to clearly link inside to outside.
The built form is light and open to bring the outside into all the adjacent spaces through the use of dramatic large sliding doors that form a true pavilion structure, a part of its garden. The thin edged concrete roofs become a series of colourful floating meadow gardens with the native plant selection encouraging bees and birds and providing insulation for the rooms below.
An open northern edge connected to a level yard and pool is the defining character of the ‘Garden Pavilion’ and all activity within the house will inevitably gravitate year round to this liveable edge. As a result the design places all the new spaces within this highly desirable northern zone whilst placing the height to the rear of the property to manage town planning restrictions as well as respecting the value and history of the existing heritage house.
Open Plan Living
A modern cathedral space has been formed connecting the three levels of the new extension. The public spaces create a coherent flexible open plan arrangement with large stacking doors providing seamless connections from the indoors to the outdoors. A clean demarkation line has been scribed to define the new and old with traditional VJ walls forming an important edge between the old and new. This line maintains the value and continuity of the heritage house as an area of minimal intervention, creating a clear delineation to define the history of the house moving into the future. It also demarcates use with the adult zone contained within the separate heritage component.
The kitchen provides a focal point for the renovations, a true heart for the residence. Surrounded by timber and brick the kitchen provides an offset with reflective panels forming a jewel that invites the beauty of the garden within. A functional ‘European’ design approach is delivered with hanging pots and pans and a clean practical design language. The island bench is an intimate element creating an invitation to be seated and relax, and a place for the cook to appreciate the views beyond and a central command location from which all the corners of the residence and pool can easily be sighted.
The new works to the rear of the site are broken into a series of discrete yet connected spaces over three levels. Elevated into a private personal level are the three children bedrooms and viewing platform (below is the spare bedroom and rumpus room). All the different zones have appropriate heights for use without dominating the existing heritage residence. This is achieved by dropping the rumpus level to ground by 1m from the existing house level and the bedrooms elevated by only 2.3m creating a 4.8m central volume for the living area.
The rumpus room is a sunken refuge with the room defined by its connection to the rainforest garden and courtyard space. A large pivoting glass door fully opens the room with the reflections drawing the outside in. The materials blur the boundary between inside and out which is best illustrated by the continuous brick stair element which is only separated by a frameless glazed fin. This effectively combines the court and rumpus to form one large flexible indoor outdoor space.
By elevating the level of the bedroom wing, the spaces are personalised, with an acoustic cork canvas to reflect the character of each child. However at their discretion, by just opening the door onto the elevated platform, a sense of connection can be maintained to the living room. Between each bedroom high level mirrors increase the feeling of openness whilst maintaining privacy. The glazing to the west is shaped to manage heat gain and privacy whilst maximising usable wall space to allow flexibility of use. The lower guest bedroom provides a quiet acoustic and light managed refuge, with the simple material palette creating a minimalist calm.
The heritage Queenslander provides the framework and inspiration for the master retreat. The heritage architraves and windows are highlighted with a contrasting paint scheme that extends into the ensuite connecting the two spaces. High level mirrors extend the feeling of space, with the walk in robe and shower/toilet partitions freestanding to the window architrave datum, reinforcing the connection to the heritage rhythm whilst extending the feeling of space.
The master ensuite is seamlessly connected to the walk in robes and master bedroom beyond. A feature heritage William Morris tiled wall provides continuity with the Queenslanders heritage and provides a fitting contrast to the contemporary fittings and fixtures. The storage roof is planted with a meadow garden with a continuous high level window inviting vistas of the garden and trees beyond whilst maintaining privacy.
The heritage architecture and garden forms a sanctuary within the residence, a place to retreat and relax. The library provides a space that can be connected to the living, or alternatively a completely private room with the hidden door closed for music practice and reading in front of the heritage fireplace. The study is fundamentally connected to the formal garden with the desk located in front of the window, whilst the French doors provide access and visibility to the property entrance. The heritage garden provides a formal traditional address with a central fountain marking the centrepiece. The heritage haven creates value to the existing house reinventing it without the pressures of being the entire liveable zone allowing it to fulfil its potential.