This project was all about improving thermal performance in a cold, dimly lit heritage home in Sydney’s inner west.
To bring in more light and warmth to the home’s south-facing living quarters, the architects proposed the demolition of an old addition and the careful redesign of a new one.
One of the key design strategies was the introduction of an internal courtyard. The heart of the home was opened to the sun, where strategically placed concrete walls and hydronic heated flooring brought much-needed heat gain to cold zones. New awnings let in winter sun and the architects specified heavily insulated prefabricated wall and roof panels and double-glazed windows, to help maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.
The kitchen, dining and living are now warm in every sense. Reclaimed spotted gum flooring from the old addition was repurposed in cupboard faces and in a timber-lined ceiling above the kitchen. A striking cantilevered stair detail adds a sculptural element alongside the courtyard, but it also lets in morning sun, warming breakfasters’ backs as they sit at the kitchen bench.
Bricks from the old kitchen were repurposed as another strategic thermal mass wall in the backyard. This doubles as a screen for a 1400L tank that supplies ample rainwater for the newly landscaped garden. A horticulturalist captured the clients’ love of Australian native plants here in a design that promotes birdlife and other local fauna. The theme continues into the internal courtyard where the blackened trunks of the iconic Xanthorrhoeagrass trees echo the architects’ choice of blackened timber cladding.