Letting more light into existing rooms is often top of the list for renovators of old homes. The result can be dramatic for the owners and their lifestyle. Whereas cold, dark rooms can create a depressing atmosphere, a light, bright room usually improves creativity and wellbeing. That’s the effect the owners of this 50 year old Perth home experienced some years ago when architect reno¬vated their north facing kitchen by opening it up to the sun. So much so, one of the owners would carry his computer into the kitchen and work there instead of staying in his room on the other side of the house. The room was not big enough, narrow space that had originally been the back veranda of the house.
To retain privacy, the back veranda of the house had been bricked in and the windows fitted with translucent glass. Because the room faces south it doesn’t get much direct sun, but the owner finds the southern light ideal for working in. The wide expanse of glass could have made the room cold in winter but this was overcome by installing under floor heating. Although the owner now had a light, bright working environment, the glass walls and roof posed another problem. The room had to be open but it also needed to be private. A triangular wall wrapped around the glass extension screens the room from the courtyard.
The shape also creates a small paved courtyard and garden which enhances the room’s indoor / outdoor atmosphere. Strategic tree planting in the courtyard pro¬vides further screening from the apartments. Glass also plays a vital role in a smaller 1 modification made at the same time to the front of the house. Regulations in the 1930s dictated that the apartments could only be built if they were connected to the house. As a result, one wall of the apartment block extends beyond the front entrance to the house. A new translucent glass screen installed beside the house entrance allows light into the apartment bathrooms while maintaining privacy. Murano glass tiles feature both in the front entrance screen and the writer’s room.
Renovating your home is rarely a straightforward path in fact, it’s more like a series of crossroads. At regular intervals you need to decide in which direction you’re going. Should you restore the original period style of the house or boldly modernize Very often, it feels as if there are no signposts. The owner shouldn’t get too hung up trying to decide whether to have a period or modern look, because there are more options than that. The designer’s approach perfectly. The renovation evolved to meet the owners’ needs. Some were immediate, such as a large family living space to cope with the needs of two small children, and a separate, private space for the parents. The owners are self-employed professionals and therefore wanted space for a home office-cum-room.
The living area also had to be suitable for meeting clients. Other considerations were taken for the longer term. As previous renovations had stripped the house of any redeeming period features, there was little incentive to renovate in period style. The original street facade was retained, though a neighborly as well as a cost effective moves. Retaining as much of the existing structure as possible was another useful step: this helped to reduce costs, and also took advantage of building bylaws that permitted 120m2 of new construction at the rear of the house.
Only minimal changes were made to the front of the house: the walls were stripped back to the original surfaces and repainted, and the central corridor was retained One of the front bedrooms was enlarged to create a master bedroom and unsuited. (These rooms will be featured in the next issue of Bedroom and Bathroom Trends.) A new study with a mezzanine loft space was inserted into the center of the house. The large new family living area at the rear of the house saw the most dramatic changes. Its ceiling is raised at several heights and angles to let in as much natural light as possible. The color scheme reflects a similar blend of practicality and style. The timber floors, cabinets and venetian blinds are offset by accents of burnt orange, deep blue, grey-green and light yellow. In these decoration, Colors are treated like an accessory, so they can be easily changed to suit fashions and tastes and the interior color scheme is designed to meet the owners’ needs as their family life evolves.