House B is the middle house in a development by designed Whispering Smith’s Director, Kate Fitzgerald, a project that has become one of the most informative case studies of best practice urban infill in Perth. In a city famous for demolishing suburban character to make way for ubiquitous ‘McMansions’ House B is an important project because it exemplifies the value a mindful architect can place on existing built and landscape character as leaders of development.
House B sits is an existing 1950’s post war brick house and surrounding mature trees left in place by Kate when she planned a subdivision with a micro-lot now known as ‘House A’. The small house and its relationship to the existing House B has captured the attention of the state and local governments, now attempting to combat significant tree canopy loss and urban heat island effect.
House B sits high up on a sloping block on old limestone footings, the perfect positioning for watching sunsets over the ocean at Scarborough. The original 2-bedroom red brick house is largely intact, nestled into a new extension – The junction between new and old is a barrel-vaulted corridor that runs the full length of the project from the front door to the back garden. Curve-topped steel doors separate the functional spaces from the living areas to create moments of unexpected craft that highlight a peep of the flowering Empress Tree beyond.
Existing smaller bedrooms have been cut through to make a study, with sliding timber doors to create layers of privacy to the master bedroom within the floor-plan, and a private tropical garden adjacent to the ensuite. The kitchen opens up the travertine paved outdoor terrace through steel bi-fold and the curved steel and marble kitchen island bench is clad in Robini 3D tiles.
The outdoor terrace is placed above the garage which has given back a green wedge to the east, the home of an existing Pt Cook Pine and Empress Tree which create a private, sun-dappled green oasis.