Project: Russell Lea House
Architects: Mark Szczerbicki Design Studio
Location: Russell Lea, New South Wales, Australia
Photo credits Tom Ferguson
Text by Mark Szczerbicki Design Studio
This new house in Russell Lea has been designed next door to the owner’s previous home of 27 years. Looking to downsize as their children moved out and started their own families, but wanting to stay in the area that was so familiar to them, our clients asked for a simpler, more compact and sustainable home.
The new Russell Lea house is efficiently laid out with central stair and lift access from the garage/workshop/home theatre area downstairs to the open plan living spaces and landscaped backyard above. Resisting the trend to add rooms to ‘maximise the site’, the house is compact but spacious and filled with natural light from expansive north-east facing highlight windows and an internal courtyard. Various energy efficiency measures include a full solar panel array, 10000L underground rainwater tank, hydronic underfloor heating, double the minimum required insulation, double glazing in key areas, and motorised blinds and louvres to control sunlight.
The kitchen layout has been designed to hide the necessary items of equipment and instead present a joinery pod to the living space. The laundry doubles as a bar/servery during parties and large family gatherings. The front façade is expressed with a cedar base which hides the garage door and leads visitors into the entry foyer, and an oversized window frame which forms nearly the full front elevation of the first floor, cantilevering over the entry and framing the master bedroom and ensuite behind. A sentimental piece of the cottage which was demolished on the site has been re-used – a stained glass window which was the pride and joy of the elderly couple who lived here now holds pride of place in the wine cellar.