Vaucluse House | Flexible Reconfiguration

This beautifully located house overlooking Sydney Harbour belongs to a middle aged professional couple. With two independent children who had recently moved out of home they wanted to refurbish and reorganise their house to prepare for old age. There were two key aspects to their request; relocate the living areas to the top floor to make the most of the harbour outlook, and provide a suite for an on-site carer.

From the street, the largely unamended exterior belies a complete reorganisation and refurbishment, while the changes to the rear provide a much more open and engaging relationship to a new garden for outdoor entertainment purposes. The project was designed to comply with CDC (Complying Development) requirements, concurrently offering a speedier approval and circumventing the often awkward and compromised negotiations that are associated with conventional DA approvals in such ‘high profile’ neighbourhoods.

The final arrangement includes a Master Suite incorporating; bedroom, walk-in-robe and ensuite in one ground floor compartment of the house, and the self contained carer’s suite; which doubles as a home office with independent street access, or as a second bedroom for visiting children. The third bedroom can also be configured with ensuite access via a sliding door that allows flexible compartmentation; allowing the bathroom to double as a guest toilet.

The first floor living areas were created by consolidating smaller bedrooms originally located on that level, and by gaining additional head height; by extending the ceiling into the roof space to provide a more generous scale without changing the exterior, or unnecessarily adding to project costs.

We reduced the footprint of the house to increase and better utilise the rear garden without compromising or losing any of the adapted house’s accommodation in the final arrangement. Despite reducing the footprint, the houses’s utility and accommodation increased through efficiencies in planning.

The final arrangement is elegant, providing flexible living arrangements in an understated package consistent with the client’s wishes for an ‘unostentatious’ house with a calm and warm character.