Classic cottage meets modern rear addition in this renovation project

A bold, contemporary addition creates an expansive, light-filled living zone at the rear of this reconfigured 1920s bungalow

An historic cottage at the front gives way architecture, facade, home, house, property, real estate, teal, black
An historic cottage at the front gives way to a new contemporary living and master bedroom volume at the rear the essence of this dramatic renovation and extension project by architecture firm Box. While the contrast between traditional and modern is played up overall, proportionally the old and new are in balance. The scale of the extension matches that of the existing residence.

When designing a living area extension for a period home, the issue of harmony is always likely to arise. One way forward is to simply celebrate the difference, letting the add-on stand out in bold contrast to the classic lines of the original home.

This 1920s cottage with its prim white weatherboards and traditional hip roof was charming and cheerful prior to this renovation. However, space was limited. The young family required an extension that would give them room to breathe and a better connection to the rear garden.

With the cottage located in a heritage zone, council requirements dictated that the classic front fae§ade be retained. So project architect Tim Dorrington at Box designed an open-plan pavilion to the rear of the property as part of the complex renovation.

"The two-level addition stands out in contrast to the traditional cottage," says Dorrington. "Like many Box designs, the extension takes the form of an expressed post and beam skeleton with steel cross bracing and black cladding all adding up to a crisp, modernist flavour. And if there was any doubt as to where the old finishes and the new begins, the strong contrast from black to white highlights the change."

In keeping with Boxs preference for flexible, preconceived apartment, architecture, house, interior design, living room, patio, penthouse apartment, property, real estate, window, black
In keeping with Boxs preference for flexible, preconceived unitised build forms, this rectilinear extension is constructed with glued laminated timber, or glulam, a strong, lightweight build material. The horizontal stirrup and post structure with steel cross bracing works much like an exoskeleton. This arrangement requires less internal bracing, allowing for more open interiors.

However, there is one departure from this clear cut difference between the old and new. A garage required as part of the project was built on the side of the home, in the colour and style of the existing cottage. This was appropriate as the garage is also on show to the street and so needed to match the house facade.

"Internally, the footprint of the cottage was reworked to best accommodate the bedrooms and bathrooms a placement that made sense for these smaller, more intimate spaces. The hall staircase was also moved for a better entry experience."

The open-plan extension contains the more public spaces, comprising the living and dining areas, and the kitchen opening to a new rear deck. There is also a media room and gym tucked in behind. Upstairs is the master suite, complete with ensuite, walk in wardrobe and a private deck.

The internal transition between the old and new is as definitive as the cladding. The floor level not only steps down to offer an enhanced relationship with the site, but polished concrete was chosen to contrast with the cottage's hardwood floors.

Wire inserts between the open treads on this countertop, interior design, kitchen, real estate, white
Wire inserts between the open treads on this staircase are designed to prevent children slipping down between the treads.

A strong indoor-outdoor link was achieved with large sliding doors opening to the deck, while the sculptural riserless staircase optimises light penetration right through the airy, modern living spaces.

However, when viewed from the street, there's little indication of this contemporary new addition at the rear of the property.

Credit list

Tim Dorrington, Box
Pool design
Garden design
Xanthe White
Colorsteel Plumbdek, long run on addition; corrugated iron on existing structure
Floor in extension
Polished concrete, Salt and Pepper finish
Kitchen cabinetry
Resene Black White 2-pac lacquer cabinetry
Island granite with Cosmic leathered finish; perimeter granite with Absolute Black leathered finish
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA)
Interior design and kitchen design
Sam Elliot, Box
Kitchen manufacturer
Fluid Interiors
Pool installation
Streeter Pools
Altherm by Design Windows
Mobile Ceramics
Light Plan
Kitchen hardware
Vanities and stairs
Gaboon plywood, clear finish

Story by: Charles Moxham

05 Jul, 2017

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