The existing dwelling, titled “O’Brian house,” is an Art Deco house created in 1938 for John Patrick O’Brian, a librarian. The property is significant due to the highly distinctive gabled and hipped roof, as expressed by unusual brick window hood details and the curved entry porch formed all set on a corner site. The owners required more usable space, light, better relationship to the outside, an extra bedroom plus a modern fit-out throughout.
The owners originally approached Nic Owen Architects with the view of demolishing the existing house and replacing with two town houses (inspired by neighbouring examples). The house is listed as individually significant by the local council. The owners were quickly talked away from their original ideas and Nic Owen Architects recommend a sympathetic extension to the dwelling. To our excitement their vision changed with a view to upgrading the house for their own personal use.
Their approach was to create a shadow of the existing form, a modern sympathetic “copy” of the O’Brian house which offers a simple sculptured form, carefully positioned to complement the original building. The house had to offer privacy from the busy south facing side street whilst benefit from northern sunlight.
The Majority of the existing house was retained, with only the rear skillion, wet room fit-outs and an internal wall removed. The ground floor living area was opened up with the addition of a meals area. The existing bathroom was enlarged and functions as an ensuite / bathroom. The first floor contains a third bedroom with adjacent ensuite.
One unique feature of the house is the “hidden” sliding side gate. The council would not allow off-street parking or a dedicated cross over. Therefore, a rear side fence secretly slides back into the house wall to provide vehicle access if required!
Photos – Christine Francis