Renovating for more room
Shaun and Liz Prescott lived in their 1910 Edwardian weatherboard for seven years before the needs of a growing family made a renovation a matter of urgency. With only a 1990s part renovation at the rear and a traditional layout of enclosed rooms, the Glen Iris, Melbourne, home was becoming increasingly less practical for a family with young children. “We bought the house when we didn’t have any children and now we have four. Once our second son came along, we realised it was time to do something about it,” says Shaun Prescott.
Armed with a folder of inspiration – dream clippings of rooms, designs and finishes – Prescott and his wife, Liz, approached Sherbrooke Design and Construction and designer Scott Ellis of Ausdraft to extend their family home. The brief included open-space living areas with indoor/outdoor entertaining, an upstairs extension with space for the children and a downstairs study. It also included very clear instructions on preserving the integrity of the original home.
“We wanted to keep the front of the house in its original state,” Shaun Prescott explains. “The reason we bought the house in the first place was because we had both lived in the area and loved the older style of the homes.”
From the street, the house still looks like a single-storey Edwardian weatherboard, albeit with a fresh lick of paint and immaculate landscaping. From the back, any hints of tradition are gone. A modern, two-storey structure, built in lightweight materials with full-height glass and a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors brings the home startlingly into this century.
Inside, clean lines are visible throughout. The back of the existing building has been demolished to make way for an upper storey and a ground-floor extension, complete with new deck. The living, kitchen and dining areas (at rear) are spacious and flow seamlessly. In the living area, a bench seat running alongside the fireplace is duplicated on the decking, providing a natural flow-on effect.
The balance of old materials with new has been smartly managed with wood. Stained Tasmanian Oak floorboards run from the hallway right through to the back of the house. The seamless transition continues with the indoor space flowing onto the Spotted Gum decking through two full-height glass-panel sliding doors. And recycled Red Gum sleeper posts at the end of the decking have generous gaps between them, keeping the line of sight open to the property’s rear boundary.
Overcoming site challenges with innovation
For designer Scott Ellis, the Prescott home demonstrates the best of both worlds: tradition and modernity. “The clients had a good understanding of what they wanted, which made my job relatively easy in getting a handle on what they wanted. The design came together quite nicely,” Ellis says.
While working with knowledgeable clients made his job easier, Ellis had to tackle issues presented by the site’s steep orientation.
“The site was very steep, so heights were always going to be an issue – when it comes to planning requirements, boundary heights and wall heights are always an issue. On sloping sites, it can be a challenge to get these things to work with you rather than against you.”
Ellis bypassed this challenge with a box-like design for the upstairs extension, allowing him to lower sections of the ceiling and height of the house, and thereby remain within council restrictions. By placing the laundry and pantry behind the kitchen wall – thus hidden from view – Ellis could push the ground-floor extension to the south boundary and again keep the design within planning restrictions.
The best cladding solution
The Prescotts began their renovation process with the intention of using the aluminium composite cladding Alucabond® for the rear external facade. When initial quotes proved beyond their budget, online searching led them to ScyonTM MatrixTM cladding. A James Hardie® cement composite cladding panel, MatrixTM cladding reflects a similar aesthetic appearance to Alucabond®– but at a substantially lower cost.
Sherbrooke’s construction manager Steve Compton says MatrixTM cladding perfectly suited not only the aesthetic the Prescotts wanted to achieve, but also the box-like design of the extension. “MatrixTM cladding, with its modern finish, combined well with the Colorbond® panels to give the rear an absolute lift in overall appearance. A rendered finish or even weatherboard wouldn’t have looked as good,” Compton says.
“We could have used the MatrixTM [cladding] without the screws holding together the panels showing, but we wanted the screws, as it gives it more of an industrial look,” Prescott adds. “The finished look is exactly what we envisioned: a softer look than a shiny aluminium so that it fits better with the original part of the house.”
Great client builder relationship
All three parties credit a communicative working relationship for keeping hiccups to a minimum. The build was finished on time, within the eight-month schedule.
“The only issue we encountered was with a neighbour, who ironically was building as well. It caused a few dramas, but nothing that held us back,” says Ellis.
For Shaun Prescott, losing the project manager while the house was at the frame stage was a setback. “We had a few trades booked in at that stage of the process, and there was some upheaval in reorganising everything. It was also time- consuming to start again with a new project manager, but you can work though anything if you have a good working relationship,” he says.
Working with Sherbrooke was a highlight, he adds. “Steve [Compton] was fantastic – he’s an approachable guy, and if you had a problem, you could just talk through it with him. When you’re doing a project of this size, you have to be clear on what you want. And if you’re working through issues productively, as we did, they get solved.”
Words: Andrea Sophocleous
Glen Iris, Melbourne, project
Designer: Sherbrooke Design and Construction in conjunction with Ausdraft, www.sherbrookeconstructions.com & www.ausdraft.com.au
Builder: Sherbrooke Design and Construction.
External walls: Rear cladding in British Paints ’Fox Hunt’ colour, ScyonTM MatrixTM cladding. First floor rear window feature in Colorbond® colour ’Shale Grey‘. Acrylic render finish to HardieTexTM system painted in British Paints ’Fox Hunt‘ colour. Stramit Series ‘A’ Roller Door in ’Woodland Grey‘ Colorbond® colour.
This is article first appeared in Light Home magazine. Read the full article, An Edwardian Makeover, including full specs, floor plans & costs, at www.lighthome.com.au/magazine