Something Old, Something New – Adventures in Heritage Restoration

By The TribeApril 4, 2018ArchitectureCoogeeGeneralPaddington

When it comes to architecture and residential design, it’s natural to want what’s new and now. Newly minted floor plans, updated circulation patterns and fresh landscaping are all part of the new build process. While I love that new ‘smell’ in a building I have a habitual passion for the art of flawlessly marrying new additions with existing buildings that carry a long pedigree. I am naturally drawn to older buildings as more often than not they have a rich story to tell by way of the history of previous occupants, the locale and where the building stood at a certain point in time. These all add to the character of the space and most importantly, in my mind, value to the structure.

Good things take work!

Preserving and restoring buildings is difficult. The residue of unregulated building methods of the past present unique problems to overcome in a restoration project. Not just from a construction or building regulatory level (i.e. heritage conservation rules) but also financially and aesthetically.

So often, I have seen new architecture that simply doesn’t work in the context of the heritage elements of a space. Think of those new additions on the roofs of old Sydney homes that are so foreign and out of place in the context of the building. The real skill lies in how one blends traditional architectural features with contemporary design. There needs to be a well crafted relationship with the new that is generated from the site’s prevalent properties. This is particularly important in heritage applications where the existing form’s strengths will determine new interventions.

Top three things to think about when tackling a restoration:

  1. Identify the existing heritage features of your home, and your needs for the space.
  2. Marry materials that are sympathetic to the heritage elements but that are modern to ensure that the house will stand the test of various architectural trends and styles.
  3. Find clever ways of inserting sustainable design whilst retaining the character of the house.

For more inspiration check out some of our completed heritage restoration projects:

Summer Hill Terrace – With the site being of important heritage significance, many original features such as the ceiling, decorative cornices and floors were retained but given a fresher take by simply repainting walls and ceilings and refinishing the existing floors. This is a great way to save costs and inject life into an existing space.

Paddington Street Terrace – This home was in desperate need of light and this was cleverly incorporated with the construction of a three-storey light well and green wall. Sustainable features such as green walls are an investment to a home as they create functional, liveable rooms that still blends and further defines the site’s character.

Bream Street House – Retaining existing heritage features such as the stained glass and brickwork livened up this home. Stained glass work adds craftsmanship and beautiful detailing whilst the brickwork blends sinuously with the existing home’s structure, adding great resale value for the clients.

Posted by Praveeni

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