Shedding light

This north-facing villa makes the most of the natural light with an open-plan extension
The new extension of this villa effectively doubled apartment, ceiling, daylighting, floor, flooring, hardwood, home, house, interior design, real estate, room, gray
The new extension of this villa effectively doubled its size. Steps lead down to the addition which accommodates an open-plan living area. The original wooden floor was stained to match the dinning room table, creating a visable connection between the orginal house and the extension. A high window provides natural light to the hall.

In high-density suburbia, a renovation needs to take the neighbours into account, especially when an extension doubles the original footprint.

Project architect Jonathan Bellingham Smith was faced with this challenge when extending a heritage villa toward the sunlight.

"This transitional villa, built around 1913, was cold, small and had little natural light. The floor layout was impractical, with the toilet facing the front door, and the kitchen contained in a hall in the southwestern elevation."

He says the homeowners purchased the north-facing house with the intention of adding to it as the family grew.

"The owners wanted a large, naturally lit, communal area, which was hard to achieve with the existing layout."

Smith says the dimensions of the original living spaces were more practical for creating new bedrooms. This worked well with the new design to relocate the living spaces to the northwestern side of the property.

The open-plan interior is warmed by a large interior design, living room, property, real estate, room, gray
The open-plan interior is warmed by a large fireplace in winter, with laminated sftey glass ranchsliders and concete flooring able to retain the natural warmth.

"With the new design the master bedroom and communal living area receive morning sun, while the living spaces and courtyard get all-day sun."

Although the property was large enough to double the size of the existing building, the design had to be sympathetic to the neighbours and adhere to council regulations.

Smith says that all of the local villas were built before the council-imposed height restrictions, but that new additions are not exempt.

The back wall was demolished and the site excavated. The extension was then built at a lower level than the original structure.

The roof was sloped downwards to the southwest side, to gain maximum natural light and minimise the loss of sun for the neighbouring sites.

"Stepping down into the space also creates a more intimate feeling," he says.

Modern furniture completes the contemporary look for this apartment, architecture, ceiling, house, interior design, living room, lobby, real estate, room, suite, table, gray
Modern furniture completes the contemporary look for this informal lounge

Also on the south side, a large wall with high strip windows limits the neighbours view into the house, yet allows some natural light in.

Smith says the strip windows, combined with the angled ceiling, give a floating-roof effect. Lighting under the kitchen bench and in recessed shelves repeats this sense of buoyancy.

Large glazed ranchsliders catch the sunlight, while the angled ceiling reflects it.

The wood floor of the original hall was stained dark to match the family dining table set, which is the focal point of the new space. Grainy concrete flooring offsets the light modern interior, but complements the pieces of darker furniture.

Increased storage and updated home entertainment and technology were additional benefits of the renovation.

Aug 03, 2007

Credit list

Neils Andersen, Kris Andersen Builders
Cooktop and oven
Wall coverings
Villaboard from James Hardie; Gib
Kitchen manufacturer
Jeff Cress, Amberly Manufacturing
Fisher and Paykel
Bevel-backed weatherboard
Window and door hardware
Natural anodised and exposed timber from Vantage
We know the specialists