Bringing the outside in

AN “airy, light-filled pavillion”, cleverly added to an Ainslie cottage and designed to maximise solar access without impacting on the large garden, has been entered into the Australian Institute of Architects awards, says architect Hugh Gordon.

“The original cottage is now used for sleeping and studying, and a new entry forms a link between new and old,” he says.

Owner Meg Taylor says they wanted more space, and that their main brief to the architect was to “bring the outdoors in – because it’s such a great garden to bring in,” she says.

The result is a very workable, family-friendly house, says Meg.

“The kids love to run from their bedrooms straight through the living area and use the coffee table as a ramp to jump off! Luckily it’s pretty robust.”

Meg says the extension is exactly what they had in mind before they started the work. “We had the vision then Hugh listened to what we wanted and took it further to join the old and new areas together beautifully.”

With hard-wearing polished concrete floors that retain heat, in-slab heating, a wall of double-glazed glass doors opening wide to the large art-filled garden, raked ceilings with clerestory windows to the north, fans to circulate the air and water tanks supplying water to the cistern in the new bathroom, the home is as sustainable as it is stylish.

“We don’t worry about window treatments; no one can see in,” says Meg. “The garden is quite private and we like the feeling that we’re in the garden when we’re inside.”

The new open-plan space, with high, angled ceilings to mirror the original house, includes a kitchen, family room, master bedroom, ensuite and study, and features quirky touches such as the fun birdcage pendant over the dining table and Indian-influenced furniture and nick-knacks.

“I was surprised, when we first moved in after the work had been done, how much the house impacts on how I feel every day,” says Meg.

“One of the lovely things about living in a nice space is that it makes me feel good and I’m really thankful for it.

“I appreciate how lucky I am.”

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