BuilderNeil Williams and Sons
Landscape ArchitectFiona Brockhoff
Interior design consultantNexus Designs
Lighting ConsultantCreative Lighting
Text description provided by the architects. The existing house located in the leafy surrounds of Shoreham on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, was originally designed by British Architect Hugh Tuffley in the early 2000’s. The renovation and addition needed a sensitive, well considered approach to create unity between the old and the new, without an obvious signature of new Architects. The design intent was to update what was already a beautiful house, yet make it feel like it had all been built at the same time.
To achieve this, the Architects took inspiration from the timeless clean lines of the existing form and detailing, as well as using and expanding on the existing colour palette and materials both inside and out. The new form took these cues and gave them a contemporary twist. Despite being located on a large leafy block, the existing building did not take full advantage of its lush surrounds and the garden, while having great potential, was in need of rejuvenation. The design included additional windows to the existing areas to connect them to the garden, while the new areas utilize large glazed doors and windows that opened up onto the newly landscaped gardens. This was particularly important at the junction between the old and new building, where a glazed bridge walkway was designed to connect the two areas, creating a lush sun-filled courtyard garden between the master and the guest wing. The landscaping was designed to nestle the building into the landscape, the meandering paths connecting the internal spaces with the outside.
The original house often created confusion to new guests trying to find the entry. To overcome this a new covered walkway was designed with additional lighting and landscaping to draw people towards the front door. With new owners came a large family and a multitude of friends who regularly come to stay, so they required additional bedrooms, bathrooms and a separate area where the grandkids could play. To provide some privacy for the guests, a separate wing was created, which could be shut off when only the owners were in residence. As keen entertainers the owners needed an updated kitchen and living area, in addition to updating the master ensuite, laundry and WIR.
The upstairs deck, which afforded the only view of the ocean, was only accessible from the master area. The Architects designed a “slow stair”, the low gradient staircase’s oversized treads slowing the journey from point A to B. In this case, the ground floor courtyard to roof deck, encouraging the occupants to take their time and enjoy the journey and surrounds as they rise to the ocean view amongst the trees.
Additions and renovations often involve working on houses that are either past their prime or are the classic “doer-upper”. To have the opportunity to add to an already gorgeous house, and to be inspired by another Architects work, was quite unique. Working with such open-minded and supportive clients, who were really excited by the project and the ideas we presented, was a real joy. It has been wonderful to see how well the house is working for them and how much enjoyment they and their family are getting out of it. The gorgeous setting was an added bonus and it has been wonderful to watch the garden settle in and bloom over the last couple of years.
Council zoning prevented any built form above a single storey, so the sloping site was utilized to create separation between the different areas of the house via a series of levels. Connecting the main house and new guest area proved very challenging, as we did not want the access to lead past the master area, compromising its privacy. To overcome this we designed a new staircase that led from the dining area, past the master staircase and up to the guest level beyond. A rather unconventional solution resulting in two staircases, one behind the other, the construction of which certainly challenged the builders who had to excavate under the existing house through bedrock for 3 weeks using handheld tools due to the difficult access! The result was a design that created a private connection between the two areas without compromising the exterior built form.
As Architects, we have always felt we have a responsibility to make buildings sustainable. Working with existing homes can be challenging to achieve this. During the construction of this house measures where taken to bring the buildings sustainability up to scratch. New LED lighting throughout the house replaced old halogen lighting. New solar hot water system, Low-E coatings on existing glazing, passive solar design on new built form, high R value insulation, energy efficient appliances and ducted combustion fireplace all contributed to bring the house toward a more sustainable level. Our favorite addition was the installation of a 50m deep water bore to provide water for the garden as opposed to irrigating with town water, which proved very effective producing 20,000 litres a day.