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Better than before

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Older houses frequently have good proportions, but are not designed for modern lifestyles. This remodel provides the best of both worlds

Better than before


Most families have similar requirements when it comes to the layout of their homes – an open-plan kitchen and family area, and good indoor-outdoor flow are usually top of the list. But introducing these elements to a traditional homestead can be a challenge.

When the large house shown here was remodeled, the owner chose to retain its historic character. And even though a new wing was added, the exterior successfully fits in with the look of the original house.

"The house had very good proportions, so we chose to keep things simple from the outset," the owner says. "Previous renovations had added unsuitable elements, such as aluminum windows and a decramastic tiled roof. These were removed so we could enhance the traditional features."

New balconies were added to the second story – one replacing a sunroom. With their traditional French doors, the balconies provide good indoor-outdoor flow from the bedrooms. Flared overhangs below mimic the roofline, and are in keeping with the era of the house.

At ground-floor level, the kitchen and formal dining room were extended and rebuilt, and a new wing added. A glazed gallery was introduced to link the new wing with the existing house. While this provides a contemporary touch, the materials refer back to the traditional look, with wooden joinery opening on both sides to create a pavilion-style space.


The new wing, which accommodates guest facilities, a study and three-car garaging, also features joinery and iron railings similar to that used on the rest of the house. In addition, the placement of the windows provides a symmetrical look in keeping with the original style.

The owner says the entire roof was removed and replaced with weathered clay Marseilles tiles. These provide a look that is more fitting to the grandeur of the house and its upmarket location, he says.

First published date: 01 April 2005

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