Upon reflection

This Colonial-era home is restored to its former glory but with contemporary references
View of this home with unique design ceiling, daylighting, home, house, interior design, living room, real estate, room, window, gray
View of this home with unique design

A historic house that has been altered and added to over the years, resulting in little cohesion between the various spaces, is a common scenario in renovation projects.

Such was the case for this villa, which had undergone several small-scale updates in its lifetime.

The owners asked Andrew Sexton, of Andrew Sexton Architecture, to undertake an extensive renovation of the property.

"When I first saw the house, it had many different spaces that didn't relate to each other," he says. "So a primary goal was linking all the elements together."

With the original pre-1900s architecture as inspiration, Sexton restored a number of areas throughout the house, as well as adding a new wing incorporating a kitchen, and living and dining spaces.


View of this home with unique design ceiling, home, house, interior design, living room, real estate, room, window, gray
View of this home with unique design

"The existing kitchen and dining room was on the south side of the house and received no sun. In the new addition, we decided to face the main living areas north-west, maximising light and allowing the new spaces to spill out onto a garden."

This garden was also extended onto the roof of an underground garage, situated at the front of the property.

In the new addition, a raised ceiling creates a sense of height and space, with panelled detailing that references the original structure. The contemporary-style kitchen is tied into the design with a soft colour palette.

"We wanted to create an extrusion of the existing house," says Sexton. "Volume, height and space were the key considerations."

A feature diamond skylight in the ceiling was an integral part of the design, echoing a detail in the original house and allowing more light and sun into the main living area.

View of this home with unique design angle, architecture, area, black and white, design, diagram, drawing, elevation, floor plan, font, line, plan, product, product design, structure, text, white
View of this home with unique design

"There was a diamond feature visible on the exterior of the original house, but this went into the attic. I wanted to take this simple yet striking detail and make it a feature in the new wing," says Sexton.

As the exterior was historically listed by the council, Sexton wanted to restore or repeat as much of the original detailing as possible. For this reason, fretwork on the exterior of the addition replicates that on the existing veranda.

In the original part of the house, Sexton re-created pitched ceilings in some of the bedrooms and reinstated traditional-style fittings such as double-hung windows.

"The existing bathroom, for example, was covered from floor-to-ceiling in 1960s dark green tile. Our aim in this project was to remove clashing elements like this, and create a cohesive design that would be in keeping with the original house, but also modern and functional."

Oct 30, 2010
We know the specialists