WHITE CUBE - EPPING
Henry and Ursula's experience
"We are very pleased with the result of the whole process and enjoying living in the house. We can highly recommend
Danny and his team for the fabulous result, and would not hesitate to ask the team for any further work again. We have lived
in the house since Mid 2016 when the work was completed. The layout of the extension works very well for us as the living
and dining area and kitchen is such that we can enjoy the area if only 2 people are living in the house or if we have a
bigger family as it happened during Covid when our son and family moved in for around half a year. One key feature is the
train room, which houses a model train layout along the walls and leaving an area at the centre to be used as office
and working area. This room has also been used for Zoom meetings as well as remote learning and as a quiet working
from home spot. We like the clear separation from the pre-existing 1920’s style building and the new extension connected
with a covered bridge, which also acts as a landing between the two steps. We like the fact that the windows allow natural
light to fill the rooms very well and also provide for good ventilation. Special mention goes to the louvered window above
the bridge. The ultimate test for the design happened last year when a total of 7 people lived in the house and
we found, that we have enough space to either congregate as the whole family whilst offering space
to retreat for everybody."
This project was a 'white cube' addition to a traditional Californian bungalow. The design features a glass bridge linking the old and the new, a double height void, a sculptural steel stair and a room just for a state of the art train set. The Californian bungalow was also restored so that the owners can enjoy both worlds.
Henry and Ursula wanted to renovate their family home of many years. While it was a cosy brick house it didn't have any connection to the beautiful garden and the sun.
As is often the case the back of the house was an add on from the 60's of a sun room and bedroom. The kitchen and living room were small and disconnected to the garden.
They wanted a new open plan kitchen, living, dining room, a new laundry and a new large 'train room' for Henry's state of the art train set. Henry is a train engineer.
The clients were very open minded and shared our vision of adding a very contemporary addition rather than mimicking the 1940's construction techniques of the Californian bungalow.
Henry and Ursula wanted to turn their house into a comfortable but exciting sanctuary where they can live forever.
We took the opportunity to do something exciting but also practical and separate the old house and new addition with space and then connected them with a glass bridge.
The approach then was to push the style of each part to its extreme. We made the white box very open and light, with a double height void and big aluminium windows.
The floor level drops to garden level creating the connection to the outside and also allowing a split level arrangement where you can also go up half a flight of stairs to the train room that floats above.
We then lovingly restored the Californian bungalow component and created a lovely piano room and study for Ursula with new sliding double doors between them.
Some key aspects of the contemporary addition
Timber weatherboard cladding is a sustainable solution
The floor is polished concrete with a burnished finish - not grinded - that has a soft grey look
The stair was a sculptural feature that has a structural handrail forming a ribbon. It looks a bit like a musical instrument. The handrail is completely separate from the structure of the stair.
The double height stair void has a large sandstone wall with a split-face. The amazing stonemason hand cut the stone on site, recycling the foundations of the demolished part of the old house. This was give more connection between old and new
The sandstone wall forms a textured and warm backdrop to the moody dark bathroom
The use of black and white colours was made possible by the CDC fast track approval process where the client and architect can choose colours without the arbitrary meddling of council who always want 'Earth tones'.
The builder was amazing and they refined an awning detail and created beautiful 5mm thick aluminum sun awnings.
We love void spaces and the void over the living room is one of our best. Voids create a sense of spatial dynamism where the space is a sculptural element of the house. The contrast of low spaces to high spaces creates both intimacy and drama.
To ad to the sculptural nature of the house the outdoor terrace is 'carved' out of the cube and is a recessive space instead of an add on. The bricks are a stack-bond pattern.
The back West wall of the house was carefully made double thickness to hide the electric external blind in wall pockets above the windows.
Sustainability initiatives include: solar panels, timber frames walls (low embodied energy), electric west facing external blinds, a water tank and natural paint from the 'Eco at Home' shop.
As usual we couldn't have done it without the collaboration with the entire highly skilled team and the clients. This includes:
Sash Hristov surveyor
Peter Boyce Certifier
Shorebuild Builders and their amazing steel fabricator, concretor, stone mason, electrician, plumber, carpenters, tilers, painter and plasters.
K and K windows
Principal Architect - Danny Broe
Project Architect - Serena Vaccari
In-house Interior Designer - Alice Pamment
Existing House Type:
Cavity Brick Californian Bungalow and timber weatherboard on a concrete slab addition.
Shorebuild - 0424 603 233
Hyten Engineering - 0413 863 363