In a clever renovation, a traditional bungalow has retained its charming exterior while still offering its owners a modern, open-plan lifestyle
Renovate and Extend asked designer Margot Mackay, from Which Hue, to describe the project she recently undertook. “The residence is a typical example of a single-storey inter-war bungalow; the front façade has remained the same since 1928. The house had two bedrooms with a lean-to on the back. It was basically in original condition except for the bathroom and kitchen, which had a tired renovation from the 1980s,” explained Mckay. “There were many original features that remain today. These include decorative plaster ceilings and cornices, architraves and leadlight windows.
“The client’s brief for the project was to create a modern open-plan living space with three bedrooms plus study as well as 2.5 bathrooms, with the building remaining sympathetic to the original home. The study needed to be close to the living spaces and the south-facing back was to be as light and bright as possible. The clients wanted the lower level to also feel spacious and light. The kitchen had to be incorporated into the new living space and be a pleasure to work in, unlike the existing pokey kitchen. The bathrooms were to be luxurious and use natural materials.
“First the back of the house was removed, leaving the original entry, main bedroom and formal living. The original second bedroom was divided into three spaces, which included an ensuite on the entry level with the remainder of the space used for a powder room on the upper level of the house.
“The central stairs and lightwell act as a transition point. It provides the visual link between old and new, public and private. The new sliding door and feature wall to the living room provide privacy and slowly reveal, with a sense of anticipation to the viewer, the spaces beyond. The wall also has a functional purpose as a space for a television and entertainment unit. The modern living area complements the older section of the house with a tie in of colours, materials and finishes.
“The original kitchen and dining space is now used as a study. The new two-storey section at the back of the house encompasses a kitchen, living, dining space and split-level deck with a rainwater tank underneath. Downstairs houses two bedrooms, a small living space that could be used as an additional bedroom, the main bathroom, laundry and a workshop area. The bedrooms and living space open out to the swimming pool and courtyard areas. The final project clearly defines new work with modern detailing and materials while any original areas retain the character of their architectural details.
“Some of the special design considerations of the project included enhancing the characteristics of the original home with a sympathetic renovation. South-facing main living and bedroom sections were opened up by the use of large double glazed windows and high ceilings. Underfloor heating was utilised to add to the comfort of the spaces.
District views were embraced through correct placement of the living areas. The existing swimming pool was incorporated into the plan and renovated to flow with the new deck and garden. The pool provides a relaxing outlook for the lower-level bedrooms.
“The inspiration for the design comes from the original home with its district views and backyard gum trees. The main living area and entertainment deck are situated on the upper level to maximise the district views, rather than on the lower level to integrate with the garden. The living space with large windows looks into the tree canopy, giving a sense of tranquillity in a busy city.
“Our favourite part of the renovation is the living spaces. We love the upstairs for its sweeping district views and outdoor living. The beautiful northern light in the formal living area and the cosiness of the space within is wonderful in winter. The downstairs living on a hot summer’s day is cool and comfortable, with the pool just a few steps away. Due to the planning regulations of the conservation zone, incorporating a garage was not permitted so storage of bicycles and sporting equipment is often an issue.
“The challenge with this project was to provide a residence for open-plan modern-day living while maintaining the characteristic architecture and planning of the existing cottage. The rear addition and external living areas receive queues from the existing materiality, scale and proportions of the original cottage and re-interprets them into a more contemporary home.
“This home is located in a conservation zone and thus the original streetscape had to remain. There was minimal impact to the front of the house with the addition of a carport, and there was a slight change in the roof ridgeline. From the front of the house you have no idea what lies beyond. It is a sympathetic renovation and the transition from old to new has been well designed and executed. Visitors are impressed with the use of colours, textures and furnishings, which give a harmonious feel to the home and a seamless transition from old to new. The house has not only been renovated from front to back, it has been completed in its entirety.
“The home is a welcoming one and often used for entertaining. Friends just love the space and enjoy dropping in.”=
In conjunction With Haviland Architects
Architect: Andrew Coutinho
267 High Street, Willoughby NSW 2068
Phone: 9417 1876
The project was built by Denbuild Pty Ltd
Phone: 9748 2556
Licence number: 99163C
Photography: Margot McKay
FLOORING: Spotted gum, tiles and carpet downstairs as underfloor heating laid in slab
WALLS: Double brick
AIR-CONDITIONING: Yes and ducted gas heating
KITCHEN: Benchtop: Corian “savannah”. Cabinetry: Two-pack polyurethane in Dulux “Natural White”. Rangehood: In cabinetry, Qasair. Cooktop: Highland. Splashback: Glass in Dulux “Red Box”
WINDOWS + EXTERNAL DOORS: All wood framed and double-glazed glass
LANDSCAPING: S-ENSE Landscapes
DECKING: Treated pine and western red cedar
ENTRANCE PORCH/AWNING: Tesselated tiles replaced to make good in pattern similar to original
FRONT FENCE, PRIVACY SCREENS: Western red cedar
GARAGE DOOR: N/A. A carport has been built with a flat roof to minimalise impact on the streetscape