Spacious Extension for Family to Grow Into
A family of four live in this narrow semi-detached home on Sydney's northern beaches. They're here for the long-term -- "we plan on living here forever". They loved the "weatherboard beach house feel", but felt cramped by the narrow home and a poor '50s extension that compromised connection to the backyard.
Architect David Boyle transformed the house, adding a sunken living area where the previous extension had once been and creating a second storey that fits with the council's height regulations. The result is a light and airy home that this family of four will be happy in for years to come.
Council height regulations meant the existing roofline could not be lifted more than 1.5 meters. To provide enough space without sacrificing the sunny backyard, the architect sunk the extension to the level of the garden and fitted two bedrooms above.
The two upstairs bedrooms are located either side of a double height space over the living area. This creates an added sense of space in the living area. The bedrooms are connected by a timber bridge. Slatted timber maximizes the amount of light that reaches the living area. North-facing clerestory windows ventilate and let light deep into the space.
An angled nook separates the kitchen/dining from the lounge area. It is lowered to sitting height, creating a space for the family to sit and chat at meal preparation times. It also creates extra space for casual eating when the family has extra guests.
A triangular column serves a number of purposes. It supports the second story, defines the kitchen nook, directs the eye and frames the view of the garden, and conceals the plumbing for the bathroom above.
The house needed to suit the family for years to come. To allow maximum flexibility, the architect created versatile bedrooms, which can be used as a separate living area and can one-day combine a study for teenage children.
Hard-wearing surfaces like the exposed concrete floor, fiber cement weatherboards and timber (which can handle a few knocks) will ensure the house will look great for years to come.
Timber railway sleepers frame the french doors between the living area and the sunny outdoor space. This creates a unique portal between the two spaces.
A pergola above the outdoor space is patterned with 45 degree angle to fit in with other angles in the house. As a creeper one day grows over this area, it will create a cool, dappled shade for outdoor living.
Clerestory windows capture North light, letting it reflect and diffuse deep into the living area below. An area that was previously dark and damp (due to its south orientation) is now airy and bright.
Fresh Look in Freshwater
Freshwater Semi is a clever and forward-thinking extension that has transformed a dark, damp house into a light and airy home. With passive solar principles, the family can live more economically, enjoying the heating and cooling abilities of the environment. While thoughtful, flexible spaces will allow the family to adapt as they grow.
This is a great example of architecture that is adaptable over the long term. But it doesn't forget to provide for the comfort and enjoyment of the family right now. That's a lot to fit into just 3.6 meters width.