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Connected to the past, open to the future

A classic sandstone cottage is opened up at the rear with a complementary yet contrasting extension in this light-bringing, sustainable renovation by Sanctum Design

Renovation by James Cooper, Sanctum Design

From the designer:

Built circa 1880, the original sandstone cottage of this State Heritage listed building in Sydney’s lower North Shore has, over time, been supplemented by various additions to accommodate growing families and contemporary needs.

A 1980s lightweight extension to the rear of the building unfortunately did little to complement the strong stylistic representations of Georgian Colonial and Federation era architecture that currently present confidently to the streetscape. And so, the new owner of the property was excited to find an historical building ripe for renovation occupying a large garden with mature trees and deep soils from the original orchard.


As a keen gardener the new owner was seeking a contemporary extension to replace the rear lightweight skillion addition while preserving and complementing the original architecture. 

As part of this, the new living areas needed to connect to the garden and allow the sandstone cottage with its brick federation wing, to be viewed and enjoyed from the garden. 

Energy efficiency, sustainability and an architectural language which spoke well to the heritage elements were also part of this.

Our design cues were drawn from this need to connect to the garden, whereby the solution to create a split level provided opportunity to physically, and architecturally separate the old from the new. 

The new living / dining / kitchen area is situated at a level closer to the garden – minimising the transition from the old cottage and allowing a greater connection with the landscape.

The strong roof geometry of the original hips and gables allowed us to echo these forms in the new pavilion extension while creating volume and opportunity for light and passive solar gain. And by glazing these new gables, we allowed views to neighbouring trees and floods of morning and afternoon light – breaking down the old ideals of encompassment and connecting us with the landscape. 

The rear skillion roof to the new terrace scoops both light and view paths deep into the floor plate and offers views through to the old sandstone cottage connecting contemporary design elements with the historical context.

To celebrate the original materiality we chose recycled brick (some salvaged from the old outdoor ‘dunny’ that could not be saved) and expressed steel beams and trusses which contrast strongly against the sandstone – while the recycled brickwork connects to the story of the Federation wing both in fabric and in form. 

Together, the form and materiality of the new addition presents with an honest and visible architecture, as confident in form as it is in its contemporary language – a new chapter in the story of this unique building.

Credit list

Interior designer
Sanctum Design
Kitchen manufacturer
Portelli Joinery
Roof
Colorbond Kliplok 700
Window/door hardware
AWS Elevate
Builder
Learmont Constructions
Kitchen designer
Sanctum Design
Landscape designer
Paul Scrivener
Louvre system
Maxim
Awards
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Winner

Story by: Australia TIDA Homes

Photography by: Simon Whitbread

17 Jan, 2021

For more than 30 years, Trends has promoted great home design ideas through its print, digital and online media.The Trends International Design Awards – TIDAs – take that involvement to the next level with the search for the best kitchens, bathrooms and homes across a number of the countries where Trends has a presence.


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