Don't underestimate a home's ability to make us happy. If your home is well-designed, it will support and nurture your lifestyle. When Tom and Meeghan McInerney bought this 1940s home in Ballarat's Lake Wendouree, it was in A1 condition - far from a renovator's delight. But in spite of the home's excellent condition, it still needed some tweaks to properly support its owners' needs.
"Previously owned by two sisters who had lived there for 60 years, the property had been extremely well looked after," explains Nathan Porter from Porter Architects. "Even coming with a maintenance record that detailed such upkeep as biannual repainting."
While the "original timber panelling and ornate plasterwork on the ceiling" were in pristine condition, Tom and Meeghan wanted the home to better suit them and their lifestyles. The young family wanted to create a light and modern home. "It was very dark and underwhelming (and) one of the things Meeghan and Tom wanted to do very early on was have a glimpse of naturally lit spaces as soon as you enter the building", explains Nathan. "We kept as much original as possible, but there were some helter-skelter areas at the back that needed a good tidy up."
Porter Architects created two delineated zones. Bedrooms, bathrooms and a study were housed in the original front zone, while a new living zone, drenched in natural light, was built at the rear of the home.
The new living area opens onto the north-facing backyard with generously-sized windows. Already the family are enjoying this new living zone since moving in and are bound to enjoy sunny winter days when the home will be filled with natural light. "What we found as we put the glass in was it opened up to all these vistas of other beautiful details in houses around town," says Nathan.
The hardwood floors, in perfect condition in the existing home, were matched with recycled boards to create a seamless transition between old and new, unifying the two zones.
A small courtyard separates the living area from a playroom. The courtyard provides clear lines of sight, meaning Tom and Meeghan can keep an eye on their young daughters without feeling like helicopter parents.
Reclaimed bricks from the same period as the 1940s home are treated to a modern twist, laid in a contemporary pattern which helps to unite, yet differentiate the old and new parts of the home.
Proof that our homes can make us happier and support the lifestyles we want to live comes directly from the mouth of happy owner Meeghan, “I just love how we’re living in the house. It’s exactly how we envisaged having the kids playing here, and we’ve had some nice dinner parties." She looks to Nathan who nods and says, "It’s probably exceeded our expectations."