Moving from their sprawling egg farm in the Swan Valley to the centre of the historic precinct in Guildford was to be an exciting new living experience for this family of five and two dogs, like a reverse sea change. The clients called on Suzie Hunt from Suzanne Hunt Architect (SHA), and builder Minchin and Sims to create an extension to the property, requiring a relaxed, low-maintenance family home incorporating their love of gardening, outdoor living and family entertaining.
The existing house is located along the northern boundary of the triangular block (910sqm), with two street frontages wrapping around from east to west. It was important that SHA designed the addition to capture as much northern light in the house as possible while capitalising on the mature verge gum trees and river glimpses to the north from the second storey.
The Shire of Swan’s design guidelines for heritage precincts determined the external materiality selections and roof pitch for the addition. Despite this, Suzanne recognised the opportunity for contemporary, sun-filled living spaces, integrated with discrete garden courtyards, while respectful of the older rooms.
There was space for a separate entertaining pavilion with a pizza oven and TV. The outcome of these design combinations demonstrates that heritage and quiet contemporary are not mutually exclusive.
Honouring the home’s era, recycled jarrah boards from a demolition site were used to link the original hall and the addition. The period stained glass door was badly damaged, so Suzie arranged for a trained stained-glass master craftsman to match the existing panels – the result is seamless.
The owners couldn’t be happier with the outcome – a calm, contemporary, well-mannered heritage design with blurred landscape edges for easy living that’s good for the soul.
The design of this tranquil sanctuary was inspiredby the retired clients’ love of Japanese aesthetics,their connection to nature, and their wish forenvironmental and financial sustainability as they aged.
As this is to be their ‘forever house’, it wasimportant that the design was adaptable
as theirneeds changed, while still feeling spacious and beautiful.
Suzanne Hunt Architect worked closely with builder Gransden Constructions to turn this 50-acre site – bounded by bushland, with a creek running through the middle – into a masterpiece. The resulting home design consists of intimate, single-level, basalt stone and slate pavilions clustered along the hillside, interconnected by a curvilinear rammed earth wall.
Large clay boulders uncovered during excavation were crushed and used to form all the earth walls and stone retaining walls, ensuring the home is truly connected to the site.
Incorporating sustainable features, the north-facing pavilions allowed for the integration of 20kw of solar PV cells into the design. The cells are seamlessly assimilated into the slate roof with the Nulock system.
As the site is not connected to mains water or sewerage, two concrete above-ground water tanks, were installed, capable of collecting up to 270kL of rainwater for household use and pool top-ups, along with an Aquarius Waste Treatment system.
The completed home is a stunning, resort-style sanctuary with a sensual, timeless design, where nature is encouraged to gently enter and retreat as pavilions open up, transforming exterior spaces into ‘roofless rooms’. Ponds, courtyards and decks are purposely positioned to create a seamless fusion of indoor and outdoor living.
There is a constant give and take between solid and void, nature and building, inside and outside. In keeping with traditional Japanese architecture the uncluttered interior and minimalist furnishings resonate a warmth and calmness, allowing the building’s bones to become the decoration.