Japanese and Australian styles converge after a two-year renovation that brings a 1970s house firmly into the future for Toowoomba home owners who purchased the house eight years earlier.
The result was one year in planning with architect Greg Kratzmann and another year in construction. It was a dramatic change with the defined transition represented by the extension that is now joined to the original house via a glass-walled walkway. Japanese elements such as screens, sliding doors, black window frames, external vertical wooden panelling and battening, and an entry pavilion define the new minimalism. References to traditional Australian construction materials are present.
In the ensuite, sheets of opal white polycarbonate provide privacy necessitated by an entire wall of glass. The translucent screen is perfectly positioned so that while showering, the owners can look out over the top of it to the garden and streetscape. The new areas have a feeling of spaciousness and are defined by the Blackbutt timber floor and a ceiling three metres higher than the original design. The old ceilings were removed and the trusses boxed and painted.
The renovated kitchen is hidden from the entry with a bank of free standing off-white cabinetry that houses fridges and storage. It is appointed with granite bench tops, glass splashbacks and a custom designed platform at the end of the workbench providing storage as well as a spot for little helpers. The glass splashbacks can be raised to reveal counter level storage space for appliances. Clever.
The open space above the cabinetry separating the kitchen and living areas from the hallway create a sense of space and flow to the deck and the escarpment view beyond. An office near the entry is not fully enclosed either, enabling the dual benefit of an inspiring view and connectivity to the rest of the house and its occupants. A huge outside living and dining area at treetop level beckons with a deck of clear finished hardwood and 180 degree views.
The master suite, with its double bed, ensuite and robe, has a view to the south east worth waking up for. The southerly external glass walls do not contain the storage cabinetry but extend cleverly on an angle outside, then becoming a sculptural feature both inside and out.
Behind the scenes is the airconditioning and CBus system that provides the state-of-the-art technology to the house. Uniform off-white walls throughout the house link the new and original areas while being the perfect foil for the owners’ art collection. Every single element, from décor to functionality, has been considered in this makeover. The guest room is access friendly for potential future use by the owners’ parents or the owners themselves. For privacy, there is a separate entry and balcony.
Of the renovation and extension process, the owners learnt an important lesson – it’s not necessary to compromise when creating your ideal home. After trying to work out how to incorporate the original dated bay windows, architect Greg Kratzmann said that there was no need. “We’ll rip them out,” he said. Problem solved!
Words by Janet Kieseker | Images by Andrew Coates