'Don't touch the interior!' ran the rally cry for this renovation where the aesthetic and function of the home's exterior has been fundamentally reconsidered

Renovation by Jason Higham, Higham Architecture

From the architectural designer:

While the homeowners were keen to give the exterior of this home a new lease of life, they didn’t want any changes made to the interior.

They loved the size and layout of the house, but the same passion wasn’t shared for the exterior so having decided to live there long term, they sought to tackle both the aesthetics and the thermal performance of their home.

Built in the late 1980s and added to in the early 1990s, the substantial two-storey home was well sited to capture sunlight and warmth, but poorly equipped to sustain it.

Single glazed windows and doors were replaced with thermally broken aluminium ones complete with high performance glazing. Not content with simple replacement, however, the opportunity was taken to modernise the pane format of most of the windows too, improving both practical aspects and aesthetics.

The schist stonework was admired, but the plaster cladding, given its age and condition, was an easy candidate for change.

Cedar was chosen for its visual warmth and natural harmony with schist, and this was installed vertically to provide a balance in respect to the existing form of the house while also adding a desired contemporary feel.

In removing the plaster cladding, the rare opportunity to boost wall insulation was also seized upon.

The existing roof presented several issues, some purely aesthetic, but some quite problematic from a practical and weather-tightness perspective. This was due in part to some poorly thought through design ‘features’.

Luckily, the homeowners weren’t keen on the tile roofing anyway, so off it came and a comprehensive re-styling of the roof followed.

The clean lines of profiled metal roofing was chosen to complement the vertical lines of the cedar, while some dormers were removed to make way for skylights.

Various poor roof junctions were tidied up and one peculiar section was even re-pitched to create a more streamlined roof. As with the walls, new high grade insulation was also fitted.

Another feature high on the renovation list was the first floor deck. Narrow, closed in and poorly constructed, it had to go.

The use of steel allowed for minimal framework and a large cantilever, and this new deck was coupled with a sleek glass balustrade. Also wider and better accessed, the new deck is enjoying far more use than its predecessor!

The visual approach to the entry was scrutinised as well, with a boxed out upper bedroom and its array of downpipes and gutters drawing unnecessary attention.

In a deft move, this upper wall section was reconfigured to full length and the drainage discretely relocated. Along with improvements in the entry area itself, this area now offers a warm welcome.

In line with the owners’ request, the interior of the house was left untouched, but the exterior has undergone a significant transformation. Some changes are pronounced, others more subtle, but ultimately, this renovation delivers a thermally superior result that is, aesthetically, both respectful and contemporary.

Credit list

Vertical shiplap cedar weatherboards, by Hermpac; natural schist stonework (existing)
Window/door joinery
First Windows & Doors – thermally broken aluminium, by Kaiapoi Aluminium Joinery; plasma entry door, by Kaiapoi Aluminium Joinery
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) Homes – Highly Commended
Brewer Builders
Plumbdek profile Colorsteel Endura, by Mainland Roofing; Butynol membrane roofing, by Ardex
Velux skylights and roof windows; Glass balustrade, by Canterbury Balustrade; Vitex decking by Hermpac

Designed by: Jason Higham, Higham Architecture

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Exteriors by Jamie Armstrong; interior image by Chucky Creative

02 May, 2021

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