Waratah is a grand heritage house in Carlton North that we’ve extended with deference to its past while looking forward to a more environmentally conscious future.
The house represents its owner’s warm, down to earth nature while integrating smart technology and operable façades to provide a comfortable contemporary family home.
The family of four’s parents grew up in Melbourne’s bush-like north-eastern suburbs. We wanted their inner-city house to provide a contemporary version of the ideals of that natural setting in this urban heritage context.
The existing double fronted house was retained, restored and upgraded to have higher thermal performance and integrate home automation. The extension at the rear responds to a context of a high neighbouring brick wall on the northern side boundary and three storey flats overlooking the property from the rear. It meets contemporary family needs while providing the connections with nature more expected in an outer suburban property.
An open plan living room, provides space for family members to come together under a double height ceiling. North facing windows draw in warming winter sun over the top of the neighbouring wall on boundary and provide views to tall established trees beyond this site. A double-height height window frames views of the original stables, which reflects off ripples off the pool in between. Facing west, this window opens out to beautiful sunsets, while incorporating external shading to control prevent overheating.
The lower ceiling over the kitchen and meals area adjacent makes a more intimate space for dining. The form of the void angles away to the south west, in deference to the angle of the pitched roof of the stable. This draws the eye up and out and with a forced perspective increases the sense of space in an otherwise compact footprint.
The materials reinforce relationship with nature while speaking to contemporary sophistication within the urban heritage context. The timber slatted ceiling and timber veneer cabinetry are tactile and visually warm counterpoints to the recycled bricks and concrete floor. Abundant glass is used to bring in natural light. The glass is fluted where privacy is required or neighbouring rooftops aren’t desired to be seen. Externally, timber slats provide shade and privacy to the cantilevered balcony while adding a warm tactility to the urban heritage environment of recycled brick and charred timber. The linearity of the external venetians in daily operation provide an animated ever-changing façade expressing the sophisticated home automation and environmental interaction.
One heritage element was retained at the rear - a freestanding pitched-rooved horse stable built over one hundred years ago by the police commissioner who owned the property. This stable was retained, altered and re-appropriated as a second living / teenager’s retreat / self-contained guest bedroom complete with its own bathroom.
The house provides spaces for a family to congregate or retreat when desired. The main bedroom on the first floor overlooks the void space and living room with views across the pool to Carlton North’s treetops and rooftops. The existing part of the house contains two children’s bedrooms and a formal living and dining room. In between, a small home-office and second living room were also added.
Smart home automation allows the facades to be fully operated to control sun and ventilation, even when not at home. Electrically operable louvre windows on multiple sides of the house and into the void facilitate cross ventilation. External shading through venetian blinds and a folding arm awning provide shade. Internal window furnishings keep heat in when needed. These, and all other technology in the house, are electrically operable from a device when home or away allowing full control with reduced energy input.