Jewellery box: a home extension with natural daylight

issue 130 Words: Emma Scragg Photography: Jon Linkins
Metro Brisbane
  • The ensuite is the only room with full-height internal walls. All other partitions and the two large sliding doors stop short of the ceiling to maximise airflow between the spaces.
  • Materials were kept simple, in line with the home’s original 50s aesthetic.
  • “The exterior was perceived as a jewellery box”, Paul says, “with a humble exterior palette but a more luxurious, contemporary experience inside”.

A modest extension to a suburban 1950s weatherboard maximises natural light and air for a tranquil retreat in a classic setting.

Light, light and more light was the brief for a new parents’ retreat for Louisa and Martin in their 1954 low-set timber home in Brisbane. Having lived in the house for eight years and carried out their own minor, necessary renovations for the growing family of five, an extra bedroom and bathroom was finally needed. In contrast to the dark, inward-focused house, they wanted the new spaces to be filled with natural daylight and fresh air.

Green thumb Louisa had already transformed the backyard by removing heat-reflecting paving and establishing dense plantings of natives between deciduous 60-year-old frangipanis and a pecan, to encourage bird life. Reddog Architects created the missing connection between the house and garden. Sliding glass doors were added to the existing rear rumpus and the new wing above opens into the canopy to cool incoming breezes, compensating for the south-west orientation.

The owners were keen to leave the existing house undisturbed. The new bedroom, walk-in-robe, ensuite and office sit over the rumpus room at the top of a long plywood stair, which also serves as a thermal chimney and light well. The ground floor footprint remained unchanged, but the ceiling of the rumpus room was raised for more natural daylight.

Beneath the new raking ceilings of the upper level, clerestory windows let in warm northern winter sun and abundant daylight the rest of the year. Most other windows are louvres to optimise cross-ventilation, carefully placed and glazed to provide privacy without the need for blinds.

Architects Paul Worroll and Emma Healy didn’t want to add air-conditioning – “good architecture shouldn’t need it”. The ensuite is the only room with full-height internal walls. All other partitions and the two large sliding doors stop short of the ceiling to maximise airflow between the spaces. Ceiling fans provide additional cooling on still or the hottest days.

Its occupants are delighted with the result. “Paul really won me over,” says Louisa.”He came up with something different that was still going to be practical and I didn’t have to change any of the existing house, and I love the light.”

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Credits

DESIGN
Reddog Architects – Paul Worroll & Emma Healy
PROJECT TYPE
Extension & renovation of existing house
PROJECT LOCATION
Holland Park, Queensland
COST
$220,000
SIZE
Extension 50 sqm
Existing house 172 sqm
BUILDING STAR RATING
6 Stars

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