Articles / Renovation

XYZ House is a renovation like no other

Want to know more?

Contact us

It's not often you see a renovation of this scale. The architect went to serious lengths to transform an old home into something spectacular

A major renovation project


Architect: Mark Aronson

From the architect: XYZ House is on the Boulevard, a tree-lined wide drive with generous grass verges that connects the Perth suburbs of Leederville and Wembley with the Indian Ocean.

The original dwelling was designed by architect GE Swallow in 1962, and is a beautifully intact example of early 1960s West Australian modernist Architecture. It comprises a low-pitched metal roof, with Donnybrook Stone and painted brickwork making up the façade. Internally, there's Jarrah floorboards and slim natural brickwork.

Located on a sloping site, the original building was split level with a double garage off the street and steps to a raised north-facing Verandah. The site is on a north-south alignment and is protected from the worst of the strong southwesterly gusts from the ocean, being a distance of 1000m away to the beach and sheltered via adjacent trees.

The clients, a young and design conscious professional couple, wished to extend their house into the garden to make better use of their private outdoor living space, and maximise the indoor/ outdoor lifestyle.


The concept was to extrude the existing living space out and into the garden. This alignment took the form of a new axis at right-angles to the original house, a narrow, glazed single-storey addition that faced south and west and allowed for a more efficient use of space and corresponded to the constraints of the lot dimensions.

The concept to connect the pool with the living spaces arrived at a large south-facing glazed opening terminating in a framed view to the pool and garden beyond. The picture frame window also serves as outside/inside window seats.

The existing front door to the original house was relocated to create a clear, legible link connecting the front and back of the building. The picture frame extends across this alfresco to enclose the opening, as an extended piece of structure that terminates in the key view to the pool. The kitchen became a linear space separating the old house with the living/ dining areas and opening out into the alfresco entertainment and barbeque area.

A call came through from the client after one weekend, advising that they had been on the roof and that there were some fantastic views from this height, including ocean views. An upper storey was investigated. The best approach was felt to design new accommodation at 90 degrees to the Ground Floor addition, as this would pick up the blue of the Ocean from above the rooftops. The approach was to align this pop-up along the edge of the original building so as to minimise structural connections through existing fabric. This proposal also had the advantage of creating shelter to the alfresco below.

First published date: 21 August 2017

More news from Trends