Ashfield House 1

Context and Design Brief
The existing house, a Californian Bungalow listed as part of a group of three similar dwellings was in need of renovation. The main component of the brief was to add an open plan living area with direct access to the rear yard. A new bathroom, laundry and additional bedroom was also requested to replace dilapidated spaces within the existing house.

As the proposal developed the nature of the living room’s connection to the rear yard became very important. The north west facing living room would need to be protected from the aggressive westerly sun, but also open up to provide a large entertaining area for large family functions.

Strategy
A large regular living room was located at the rear with the kitchen skirting the periphery of the space to maximise flexibility. A curved ceiling over the living space, like a canopy gently curves up to receive light from the north. The floor of the living room steps down from the original house to provide a greater ceiling height and also a more direct connection to the rear garden.

The other briefed areas were located behind the living room at the same level as the existing house, below a skillion roof resembling the existing but dilapidated ‘lean-to’ structure at the rear of the house. The front portions of the house which were largely intact were restored to their original appearance, respecting the integrity of the heritage listed house.

Design Outcome
The living area, although clearly contemporary in its expression borrows from the materials, form and details of the existing Bungalow. The street and side view of the house belie the greater and more contemporary scale and appearance of the rear. Clerestory windows and a fine roof edge disguise the scale of the addition from everything but the rear garden view where the house generously opens up to a deck that extends the floor of the living room into the garden.

In the day to day use, external venetian blinds protect the glazing from the northwestern orientation and provide an enclosed sheltered feeling to the rear room while a clerestory window protected by a large overhang provides soft lighting to the living room interior. A single sliding door and fly screen (for general use) retract into a pocket in the wall, away from sight, without intruding on the use of the room.

On special occasions, the folding doors and external venetians open up the room entirely to the rear deck resulting in a verandah-like expression.