The original house was semi-dilapidated and required extensive work simply to make it livable. A string of bad renovations had stripped the home of its heritage details. Now, Alexandria House has undergone quite the transformation thanks to PASSER Architects. The owners - a couple and their young daughter - love to entertain, so this was the primary driver for the project which saw the house restored and renovated into a shining two-story home.
"[The owners] wanted spaces that allowed them to entertain in different ways, both indoors and outdoors", explains the architect. "As keen cooks, the kitchen is the focal point of the home. Guests are encouraged to mingle between the dining, living and courtyard spaces or sit and enjoy a wine by the window seat while the couple cook across them in the kitchen."
"The existing house had very little structure and relied on neighbouring properties for support. To overcome this significant challenge and meet building regulations, the entire house was demolished aside from the front wall. The home’s original character was reinstated"
The extensive renovation creates a rumpus space (or possible fourth bedroom) and bathroom/laundry at the front of the home, behind the original facade. As you walk towards the rear, the hall opens up to a generous open-plan living space spilling onto an outdoor entertaining space and garden.
A light well towards the north brings light into the centre of the home and creates a sunny window seat for guests to relax.
Outside, the outdoor living space soaks up the north light. A daybed hugs the southern boundary to create a sunny spot to lounge. It also doubles as a stage for the kids. Punctuating this functional outdoor room, the clients commissioned a colourful mural on the garage door by artist Claudia Damichi.
Upstairs, a bedroom has been tucked under what was the original roofline with new dormer windows bringing in natural light. An additional two bedrooms and two bathrooms complete the home.
An aluminium screen protects the north-east-facing main bedroom from the sun as well as overlooking, while still providing dappled light and views out. A cathedral ceiling in the bedroom maximises the sense of space on the otherwise tight site.
"Light and privacy are important design considerations. Skylights, new windows and a lightwell help to draw natural light into the home."
"Versatile, warm and timeless materials are used throughout the home", explains the architect. "Crisp, white painted brick and lining board walls contrast with brass fittings and warm oak timber floors and joinery. The material palette is simple and subtle so that the clients’ furniture, art, and the way they live remain the focal point."
When reflecting on what PASSER Architects wanted to achieve for the project, director Katrina Passer notes that "the clients are really fun-loving and social. I wanted to create spaces that are special and could be used in many ways to meet their lifestyle. The house needed to be fun like them.
"We have designed a beautiful, comfortable and timeless home that is warm and inviting to live and entertain in. The layout is so flexible and functional and ticks all the clients’ brief requirements while providing a really interesting and unique design."