An 80-year-old home undergoes a magnificent restoration to bring it into the 21st century
When Renovate and Extend spoke to Sonja Archer from Archertec Interiors about this remarkable restoration, she was very excited about the amazing project. “The house in Canberra’s inner south was around 80 years old and heritage listed. The original architecture of the home had the kitchen and family room areas as small separate spaces in serious need of an upgrade, with worn-out and uninspiring joinery,” related Archer.
“The original bathroom layouts were awkward and the colour schemes were all different, with no link or consistent theme with the rest of the home’s interiors. Other parts of the house, such as the old dining and lounge room, were very large with high ceilings and had plenty of potential to be brought back to life by refurbishing the original ceiling details, feature timber beams, the original brick fireplaces, picture rails, architraves and high skirting boards to suit the history of the home.
“The client felt it was important to retain the residence’s history but wanted the overall layout to be more functional to suit their lifestyle. The client wanted all the modern features added without losing the character of the old architecture. The client had a great eye for quality and detail and appreciated the beauty of natural materials, such as timber, marble and other natural stones, which suited the house very well.
“What started off as a small extension to include the refurbishment of the kitchen, laundry and bathroom areas became a major overhaul of the entire house. Every room had major refurbishments or changes made. There were a number of constraints to consider when looking at the interior space planning. After an earlier extension of the rumpus room, the room had to be accessed externally from the home from either the existing laundry or family room. The original laundry was extended out to allow for new access to the rumpus room and the addition of extra space to the kitchen, family room and meals area.
“In the latest kitchen design, a new cooktop and underbench oven were placed in the original brick alcove that housed the first fireplace oven. The walls were solid and structural so we needed to work around these walls and take them into consideration when designing the new kitchen. Other walls dividing the family room and kitchen were removed to open up the space, creating a much better and brighter kitchen and family living area.
“The powder room already existed in the original architecture but needed refurbishment,” Sonja Archer continued. “It was a very small room so we used large surface materials to help make the space look bigger. Materials such as colour-backed glass, stone and mirror were used to help give the illusion of more space. The toilet suite was specified and built with a concealed cistern to help achieve the feeling of more space and simplicity.
“The master ensuite was important to get right and the original master bedroom did not have a walk-in robe, which was high on the list of requests. The existing ensuite location provided the opportunity for the area to be converted into wardrobe and dressing room space and the external door was ideally placed to give access to the pool area so the owner could come and go from the pool to his dressing room and then onto his own bathroom if necessary. Additional space was taken from a cupboard originally in the adjacent hallway to allow for a large walk-in shower with no glass shower screens. A toilet suite concealed behind a feature wall also has a concealed cistern, designed to keep the look minimal and clean.
“We retained the existing external door within the new bathroom design so the children could also use the bathroom facilities from the pool area. All the bedrooms were refurbished and had new wardrobe joinery designed to maximize clothes and storage space to suit each room.
“While walking through the original rooms with their high ceilings and fireplaces, you could, with a little imagination, picture yourself there 80 years earlier and imagine the affluence the property once held. Now, 80 years later, it was a challenge and an inspiring job to make sure the contemporary lifestyle, the new design and materials that our client wanted would complement the old-world prestige the property once held.
“The kitchen was particularly important during the planning stage, as this was the most important room of the house. It needed to be contemporary in style, functional and to be the centrepiece of the home. It was joked that it needed to look ‘too good to use’. The design of the kitchen has a main island of white quartz stone with a feature chocolate marble stone overlay that extends out from the kitchen towards the family room. This creates an additional bench that can be used for general tasks, extra preparation space, a layout area for platters, entertaining guests and a breakfast bar for the family. The feature bench has been designed to look like a solid piece of stone that is open under, but due to the weight, it needed a support structure to make the design achievable.
“The overall finish of the residence truly complements the original architecture and has brought to life the heritage and history of the home. The original rooms are magic to walk into and the new kitchen and bathrooms are stunning. We have had a wonderful response from the industry with this project. Last year (2007), at the HIA Housing awards in Canberra, we were awarded the HIA Heritage Renovation Project of the Year, HIA Bathroom Designer of the Year, HIA Kitchen Designer of the Year, HIA Bathroom Renovation Over $15,000, HIA Kitchen Renovation Over $20,000, Bathroom Project of the Year and were finalists for HIA Renovated Bathroom Project Under $15,000. The client has been an inspiration to work with and this home is something to be proud of.”
The project was designed by Archertec Interiors
Phone: 02 6295 1677
The project was built by Builder Creative Building Services
Phone: 02 6290 0234
Licence number: 200 112 619
Interior Designer: Archertec Interiors
Photography: Hcreations Photography — Adam McGrath
FLOORING: Travertine honed and filled used through the general halls, family room, kitchen, laundry and bathrooms. Grey box timber floor boards used in the formal dining room. Metropol Carpet Linear Logic in bedrooms, study, rumpus and formal lounge.
WALLS: Painted Dulux China White.
KITCHEN: Benchtop: CaesarStone Snow for the general benchtops, Chocolate Emporador natural marble for the feature bench. Cabinetry: soft natural white satin polyurethane cabinetry, Charco Chocolate New Age timber veneer, frosted glass feature panels and pantry doors with aluminium detail frames. Rangehood: Ilve. Cooktop: Ilve. Fridge: Maytag.
SANITARY FIXTURES + BATHROOM FITTINGS: Rogerseller.
LIGHTING: Louis Poulsen feature lighting in the kitchen, formal dining and main entry foyer.