Fit for a queen

Fit for a queen


by Danielle Townsend  

In this revitalised Queens Park residence, indoor and outdoor areas merge seamlessly and effortlessly, as do old and new.

renovation gallery 

Unfortunately, what was originally a California bungalow in the inner-Sydney suburb of Queens Park had been butchered by its previous owners and, sadly, no remnants of any original period details could be found. All existing brickwork had been rendered and only the walls and porch of the original home were apparent.

The brief from the clients, a busy professional couple who like to entertain, called for a custom-designed three-bedroom house that catered to their specific everyday living and entertaining needs. This included generous kitchen, dining and living spaces for the interior of the house, and the seamless integration of private outdoor areas; a swimming pool and living, dining and entertaining spaces.

“The site had very little to offer in terms of outlook and the existing structure provided very little inspiration as it was stripped of its period details by the previous owners,” said Clinton Cole, architect and managing director of CplusC Design Construct, the company that handled both the design and build of the project.

However, CplusC didn’t have to look far for design inspiration when transforming the traditional home. “The overall spatial concept was inspired by the experience of sheltering in the dappled light under the canopy of the Morton Bay Figs in adjacent Centennial Park. The design of the Queens Park residence has stemmed from an appreciation of timber from concept through to execution,” said Clinton.

As the property was in a heritage conservation area, council heritage officers had to first be convinced that the proposal would be sympathetic to neighbouring Federation and California bungalow structures.

The original boundary walls on the eastern and western facades were retained, as well as the original entry to the south. “The renovation managed to salvage the remaining brickwork structure and work it into the new plan, which limited waste and demolition costs,” Clinton said.

Existing kitchen and living spaces were extended and existing walls to the north removed to make way for large operable doors leading out to the new outdoor dining/terrace and timber-decked pool areas. Emerging from the original house form, a study was placed to establish a strong visual link with the pool beyond, thanks to louvre windows.

Integral to the design of the house, and carried forward from the site’s original structure, is the entry sequence, marked with a custom designed recycled jarrah door, incorporating a bespoke hand-turned jarrah handle.

Weaving your way through the home shows just how dramatically the interior was reworked; spaces are arranged around the entry hall and service corridor. A sense of connection and spatial continuity is achieved through this entry hall and use of extensive louvre windows and sliding doors.

Emerging from the original front of the house, the new entry hall provides a warm circulation path, distinctly articulated in timber, that branches into and connects the various spaces of the home. The hallway extends through the house as an ordering element conceived as a tree trunk, from which the home’s private spaces (bedrooms with ensuite and study) branch and around which a butterfly roof form is mirrored. This roof was proposed as an inverted gable roof and pitched at similar angles to those of the traditional roof forms of neighbouring dwellings. In keeping with these period homes, the proposal had eaves lined with timber, although in a contemporary way, retaining the original walls (rendered by previous owners).

The structuring element of the service corridor groups the home’s utilitarian spaces along the site’s eastern periphery. This corridor contains and focuses the living spaces toward a protected and private courtyard in which indoor and outdoor environments become one.

As the site is on the corner of a busy arterial road and rear laneway, there were significant acoustic and visual privacy issues to be addressed. The butterfly roof form, in conjunction with minimal openings to the external walls, mitigates noise and overlooking issues, while allowing abundant natural light to flood deep into the building through louvre windows, which run along its length.

“The main bedroom and bathroom are definitely favourites as we felt it was adventurous to create rooms whose only outlook was a view of the sky. While the living spaces are exciting to be in, the bedrooms and bathrooms have a peaceful, almost monastic quality to them,” said Clinton. “The design creates its own outlook by utilising the sky as a view, while creating internally focused indoor/outdoor living spaces.”

As the home’s construction was a mix of steel, masonry and timber, material co-ordination was a challenging task. As both architects and builders, CplusC could enable effective communication lines, eliminating potential errors. Overall, most challenges in the difficult construction process were overcome due to CplusC’s unique position as both architect and builder.

Waterproofing the elegant outriggers that splay outwards from cantilevered eaves was a problem eradicated with careful consideration between architectural staff and builders. Another challenge was dealing with existing walls that weren’t plumb or square compared with the new structure. Careful on-site alignment techniques were used to conquer this.

In this home design, outdoor spaces are seamlessly integrated into the overall planning of the living areas. To unite indoor and outdoor entertainment areas, a large steel beam was required to allow for five-metre-wide support-free sliding timber-framed and glazed doors. The joinery work in the living spaces is remarkable and enjoys the same craft and detail usually given to fine furniture. The result ensured an entertaining space that is adaptable to a small or large number of visitors.

The architect and builder’s fine attention to detail attracted the attention of the Master Builders Association of NSW, which, in 2009, rewarded CplusC with its Excellence in Housing Best Use of Recycled Timber award. The judges said: “The use of timber is this builder’s trademark. The joinery work is meticulous and the recycled jarrah floors, ceilings and battens are a feature of this transformed cavity-brick cottage. The timber contributes to the warm feel of the indoor/outdoor entertainment area.” The clients are now understandably overwhelmed by the possibilities their new residence offers not only them but their guests, too.

Photography Murray Fredericks 

Project particulars:
Designed and built by:
C Plus C Design Construct pty ltd
46 Langley Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
02 9331 7555

Kitchen: Pandomo floor finish on concrete slab
Living: Porcelain stoneware/natural stone tile
Bedrooms: Select hardwood recycled jarrah tongue-and-groove secret nail, bona satin finish
Outdoor dining/terrace: Natural stone paving
Pool decking: Select hardwood 40mm x 19mm, stainless-steel screw fix, natural finish

Kitchen, living + bedrooms: Plasterboard, paint finish

Benchtop: Corian custom bench, Glacier White, custom-folded stainless steel (outdoor)
Sink + drainer: Integrated with Corian benchtop
Splashback: Integrated Corian splashback
Cabinetry + joinery: Jarrah timber veneer/ two-pack polyurethane sprayed 25 per cent Antique White USA


Windows + external doors:
Doors + windows: Custom hardwood timber (recycled jarrah) frame, Breezeway power louvre, clear anodised, colour-matched clips

Pergolas: Hot-dipped galvanised-steel structure, 170mm x 45mm blackbutt, western red cedar battens ex 40mm x 20mm, stainless-steel screw-fixed, natural oil finish
Soffit linings: Custom soffit structure, aluminium angle with western red cedar battening, natural oil finish
Pool: Concrete pool with mosaic tile finish, custom Burmese teak coping, integrated lighting, gas heating, automatic chlorinator, self-cleaning
Decking: KD H3 F7 treated pine structure, bluegum 90mm x 19mm / 40mm x 19mm, stainless-steel screw-fix, natural oil finish
Planting: Doryantes excelsior, Dianelle spp