A new double storey house completed in 2007.

A property with plenty of difficulties. The street frontage faced north, the hardest orientation to work with. Heritage controls and a small site meant planning approval was required. The council was against double storey, as the street was made up of only single storey homes, however double storey was the only way to provide enough room for our client’s family on this small site.

A beautiful intact Victorian street, this was to be its first new house in over 100 years. We needed to handle this sensitively. Our clients wanted a modern home, the council and neighbours, something sympathetic and in keeping with the neighbourhood character. We felt it should be a balance of both. We weren’t going to copy and reproduce a Victorian house. This house should represent the style of today, just as its neighbours did theirs back in their day. We feel a street is a timeline, and each house sets the scene of its time. Just like our cars no longer look like the model T Ford of 1908, so it should be with our buildings.

Our solution was to design the front section of the home as a modern interpretation of a Victorian era single fronted residence. The floating roof mimics the verandahs associated with these houses, whilst the

four blockwork ‘blade’ walls represent the verandah posts, and creates the symmetry found in these homes. The shallow pitch of the roof is in keeping with its neighbours, yet looks almost flat and therefore modern. The choice of materials and colours softens the modern lines.

With north facing the street, the house has been designed as two pavilions linked by a glass corridor. This creates a large internal courtyard allowing full north light into the living spaces in the rear pavilion. The front pavilion, containing the entry and study, provides privacy from the street to the internal courtyard and the rear pavilion. The rear/ living pavilion is set back far enough that you cannot see its double storey form from the street, which appeased the council.

We met with neighbours and council during the design phase, to present imagery of our proposal from a 3D computer model. This won their confidence with the ability to accurately see what we proposed without needing to try to visualize off plans and drawings. The neighbours went from initial concern, to congratulating us on such a beautiful and well-considered addition to the street.