Until recently, the interiors within this Federation home in Ballarat did not live up to the grandeur of the house’s heritage facade.
Few original period features remained, and the layout did little to capture natural light or provide comfort.
The client’s brief was simply for an open-plan, light-filled living space, in addition to a main bedroom suite on the ground floor to support ageing in place.
Moloney Architects designed an almost entirely new ground floor, starting with demolishing the home’s non-original rooms (including the kitchen), leaving only a large living room at the front. This room was transformed into the home’s easily accessible main bedroom with a walk-in wardrobe and en suite.
The living room and kitchen were relocated to the new, low-lying addition at the ground floor rear. Accessed via the home’s original back door, this 107-square-metre addition is separated from the heritage dwelling by a narrow glazed corridor with landscaped courtyards on either side.
‘These courtyards not only bring light and views to what would otherwise be dark “landlocked” rooms in the heritage house, they also establish a subtle transition space, bridging the old and the new,’ says Mick Moloney, director of Moloney Architects.
The architects designed the addition in a deliberately contrasting style to the original home that supports the practical needs of the clients and provides close connections to the previously ignored garden.
Eoghan Doherty, associate director at Moloney Architects, explains the design intent. ‘When dealing with heritage properties, we tend to steer away from architectural interventions that aim to replicate the style or form of the original structure to help preserve the integrity of the original design.’
The look of the addition is therefore minimal, drawing inspiration from Japanese architecture in terms of its materiality, exposed structural grids, and connection to the landscape.
Most prominently, the new living space is defined by five 13-metre-long laminated Victorian ash beams that support the roof plane, complemented by black steel, birch plywood, and concrete.
‘The minimal material palette gives the impression that the open space is itself a single crafted piece of joinery,’ says Mick.
A halo of highlight windows — separating the roof from the walls — allow light to permeate deep into the space.
Moloney Architects also custom designed furniture to suit the space’s proportions and material palette, including the steel and timber dining table that utilises salvaged off-cuts from the large glulam (glued laminated timber) beams above.
In addition to the open-plan living room, dining area, and kitchen, the extension contains a study, laundry, powder room, and pantry.
The upper floor remains structurally untouched, offering additional bedrooms and a bathroom, without the need for any alterations.
The renovations and extension have significantly improved this home’s liveability. Opening up the heritage structure has introduced more natural light and landscape views, while the addition has facilitated a more energy-efficient and comfortable space.
The house now meets the practical needs of the clients, without sacrificing the beauty of the original heritage design, or impacting the streetscape.