Chestnut Street by Tim Spicer Architects and Felicity Dessewffy

Tim Spicer Architects together with Felicity Dessewffy, have transformed an existing heritage listed home into a two storey contemporary home for a young family. The Chestnut Street house is located in Cremorne, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

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From the architects

Design Intent
The brief was to transform an existing heritage listed double fronted two bedroom, inward facing house into a light filled two storey home for a young family, which can be opened up for social events and connect with the outdoors. Leaving only the front two bedrooms intact the design capitalized on the wide block by pushing the building mass to the south boundary and orienting the new entertaining areas around the north-west facing garden. The formal dining area and kitchen are located in the centre of the new volume, separating the living space from the two original front bedrooms. A few steps separate the dining and kitchen area from the elevated living space, while a single joinery element maintains continuity between the two levels. The rake of the living room ceiling opens the space up to the garden and full height double glazed windows connected the room to the deck, allowing natural light to penetrate deep into building. A staircase wrapping around the fireplace leads to the master bedroom, ensuite, walk in robe and study on the first floor. The bedroom and study, which look down over the garden and catch glimpses of the city, provide a quite retreat for the couple from their busy lives. Above the kitchen and laundry structural provision has been made for a future roof deck, which is accessed via the master bedroom. Externally the composition of the copper toned metal cladding and timber screens create strong lines across the fa├žade and accentuate the raking ceiling. The copper and timber tones were chosen for their warmth and are offset against green hues of grass and the future planting. Internally a clean material palette of spotted gum timber floors, concrete bench tops and white kitchen joinery, create a warm light filled space.

Sustainable features
The existing house was cold and dark, receiving little natural light and containing almost no insulation. The design of the renovation and addition opened the communal spaces up to the garden, transforming a west facing house into a primarily north facing house. Plantation timber is used extensively throughout the house. The large double glazed windows and doors provide ample light and solar gain, while the insulation throughout the house, including retrofitted insulation in the existing building, help maintain the temperature. The central combustion fireplace not only provides a sustainable heat source for the living/kitchen/dining area but also to the master bedroom through which the exposed flue is run. The house is fitted with a 5KW solar system.

Architects: Tim Spicer Architects and Felicity Dessewffy
Builder: Gary Dyson
Photography by Nick Doolan

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