Smart Design Studio - Sydney Architects


The extensive refurbishment of an 1885 Victorian mansion is an entirely case-sensitive operation. Whilst respecting the heritage façade, at the rear of the house the living area has been reconfigured to create a continuous flow to the back garden, with bi-fold doors opening full-width beneath a cantilevered awning. The new layout effectively responds to the requirement for open plan living without dissolving the beauty of original features and formal hierarchies of spatial planning that is integral to a house of this scale and grandeur. The main entry, via a porte cochere, is flanked by traditional, formal lounge and dining rooms which break out onto covered verandas and a courtyard garden wrapped at its edge by an off-form concrete ‘perching’ wall. Meanwhile, the upper level has been reformulated to allow separate ensuites to each of the three bedrooms, as well as a media room.



The master-bedroom now leads onto an ensuite that sees the marriage of dressing room, large wardrobes, vanity area, two-person shower, free-standing bath and cleverly concealed WC – all in the one room. Completed 2008.



A simple materials palette of concrete, steel, and glass ensures the new garden pavilion is distinctly modern, yet complementary and deferential to the main house. Double-height blades on the north eastern elevation of the pavilion serve to frame views towards Balmoral, create privacy for both occupants and neighbours, and lend classical proportions (with a modern twist) to the ensemble. By borrowing from the palette of materials in the existing landscape (concrete walls and paving), the addition presents as a part of that landscape, leaving the historic structure standing at the centre of the grounds.


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