Essendon House is a refurbishment and extension project completed by Australian studio Lai Cheong Brown.
From the architect: Developed from a schematic design the clients had commissioned some years earlier with another designer, Helen Johnson, the project focused on the re-imagining of a solid brick Inter-war home as both a downsize for a retiring couple and a multi-generational home for additional members of the family. The house also needed to accommodate the gatherings of a large family cohort many of whom live only streets away.
In a heritage overlay, the design response needed to accommodate all of the expansion to the rear of the block, retaining only a large decked area to the northern side as private open space. Externally the project repaired and refurbished the tiled roof, clinker brick façade and chimney while replacing original window joinery to a matched detail. New wrought iron gates were designed based on the motif of the original 1930’s ironwork.
The extension is completed in a mix of re-used and recycled clinker bricks with the new living space, topped by its lantern roof, differentiated in dark blue dry pressed brickwork.
Internally the house provides a new interior that blends retained and refurbished heritage details with contemporary elements.
The house accommodates both a retired couple and an adult family member in connected but separate accommodation. An integrated apartment with its own bathroom, laundry and kitchen facilities is set within the house’s original master suite while the remaining sections of the house and a new extension accommodate the retired couple comfortably and with enough space to connect with the house’s other occupant and a host of nearby family when they choose to.
A full height walnut veneered hallway joins the original octagonal entry vestibule to the new clerestory topped open plan living and dining space which centres the new home and provides a large light filled area to enjoy with extended family. A small snug off the main living spaces serves as a small intimate retreat for the couple day to day.
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