From cold Victorian to warm contemporary

Sick of their dark, cold and mouldy Victorian terrace house, this family turned to Ben Callery Architects to give their home a new lease on life
Story by: David Renwick
The clerestory windows wrap around the kitchen/living area architecture, ceiling, daylighting, house, interior design, living room, loft, real estate, gray, white
The clerestory windows wrap around the kitchen/living area

Architect: Ben Callery ArchitectsPhotographer: Tatjana PlittAbout the project: This project is an example of the power of one architectural gesture to have a huge impact in a project with a small budget and a small footprint, physically and environmentally. Our clients, a family of three, wanted an addition to their existing dark, cold, mouldy Victorian terrace house.

They didn't know how to achieve it, but they wanted their new extension to engage with the environment to provide passive comfort in a form and space that would lift their spirits. Their existing house was heritage listed meaning that at least the front two rooms had to be retained. The block was a narrow 6.5m wide and only 307m², with neighbouring walls on both side boundaries that overshadowed the site and stifled ventilation.

The site sloped steeply from front to back, making the rear of the house more than a metre above natural ground. However, the biggest constraint was the orientation (north to the front) which made it difficult to get sunlight into the living rooms at the rear of the house. This was only exacerbated by the heritage requirements, narrowness, neighbouring walls and the sloping site.

The owners had a modest budget of $330,000 including GST making it prohibitively expensive to use high end materials or even standard materials like a concrete slab on the sloping site. What our clients did have though was an insightful brief for a compact, clever home and an open mind to how we could achieve this.

advertisement


A wall from the old home remains visible bathroom, bathroom accessory, bathroom cabinet, floor, home, interior design, plumbing fixture, room, tile, window, gray, black
A wall from the old home remains visible in the new bathroom

They were representative of the shift that we are finding in many clients for an emphasis on quality of space and light and environmental responsiveness in preference to big spaces. They were prepared to accept our suggestion that they didn't need a room for every function. They were keen to have flexibility. They didn't need many of the rooms that some consider a must have: an ensuite or a walk in robe, a laundry room, a second bathroom or even a second lounge.

They were prepared to have one good sized bathroom incorporating a laundry in a cupboard and a second powder room. The third bedroom could be a guest / lounge and a home office for one of the owners who frequently works from home. They also represent our growing culture of flexible working location and hours and need for homes to provide a productive work space.

The addition at the back required a creative response to the site challenges and orientation. The budget allowed for one key architectural gesture: to pop up the roof and then curve it up towards the north. The large highlight window catches warming winter sun and the perimeter of clerestory windows provides ambient light at all times of the day.

Electrically operated highlight windows facilitate cross ventilation through the entire living space. The convex curve of the roof bounces direct sun light down into the living space while creating an illusion of space. The ramping form directs the eye up and outwards vertically creating a sense of space far greater than the modest 80m'² footprint.

Floor plan angle, area, black and white, design, diagram, drawing, floor plan, font, line, plan, product design, schematic, technical drawing, text, white
Floor plan

Meanwhile the long tail of the roof cantilevers over the back deck, drawing the living space out, bringing the outside in, and creating a feeling of length on the small site. The detailing is carefully considered to accentuate the curve and create a feeling of floating. The slender structural frame and black steel windows detach the white ceiling from the house creating a sense of weightlessness. The curvy details continue in the benchtop, floating shelves and splashback tiles.

The sunken deck flows down from the living room connecting the occupants with the natural environment and making use of the slope of the block as the floor level becomes a usable seat. Flip-top storage seats make use of every cubic centimetre of space. The heritage parts of the house are retained and celebrated.

The original pitched tiled roof is framed by the highlight window as a striking reminder of the heritage context. The original hard plaster in the old lounge (converted into the bathroom) was peeled away to reveal the original brickwork wall where a curved brick lintel was a wonderful serendipitous find that becomes a feature of the new bathroom.

Oct 31, 2017

advertisement

advertisement

advertisement

advertisement

Similar stories

Kitchen designed to integrate seamlessly into apartment interior

Lightly stained white oak kitchen cabinetry extends into adjacent living areas in this New York City loft. Read more

Renovation totally opens up new bathroom to the dressing room and bedroom, with views beyond

Architect Stefan Antoni turns a 1970s horror of a master suite into an open-plan space that’s become an everyday pleasure to use Read more

Warm meets semi industrial in this kitchen with a central sculptural island

A faceted stainless steel and wood island is the centrepiece of this modest-sized Read more

Latest books

Commercial Design Trends Vol 34/02C

Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, your hotel experience can either make or break your trip. Our market report in this issue looks at the changing world of hotel design – from five star establ... Read more

Home Trends 3403

The design of our homes – new or renovated – should be an individualistic response to our lifestyle, family set-up and budget. But there are also common requirements we should all aim for – a balance of public and private space... Read more

Home Trends 3307

While we might all have ideas for the home design that we want, consulting a good architect or designer will also open us up to other design possibilities that we haven't thought of.To help get you started on creating the home ... Read more

Related profiles

Daikin New Zealand

We are New Zealand’s Air Conditioning Specialists. Read more

Jayline Fireplaces, Galaxy Spas and Broil King BBQs by Retail Links Ltd

Retail Links is a family-owned business that specialises in wood fires and ultra-low emission burners, spa pools and swim spas, and high performing BBQs. Read more

Architecture Smith + Scully

Architecture Smith + Scully is an award-winning, New Zealand Institute of Architects registered practice. We aim to create contemporary architecture that enhances and enlightens our clients’ daily lives with engagi... Read more