P1 Design in collaboration with Peter Genders Construction.

Our brief was to create the ‘Tardis’ effect, where the exterior gives away very few clues as to what beholds inside – both in regard to volume and quality. This effect had to be achieved within heritage guidelines, a strict budget and a desire to undertake the greater part of the work ourselves.

The aim was to seamlessly extend the house down and out, increasing its living areas from 120 square metres to 180 square metres and a further 120 square metres of deck and workshop/storage/gym, all to be achieved with little impact on streetscape.

The home had to fulfill its criteria to be an outlet for our individual and combined creative juices, so the plan was conceived to create a series of individual yet judiciously linked whimsical spaces that encouraged family interaction yet still provided options for privacy and seclusion.

The design and process also had to foster a sense of ownership for two young children and to encourage exploration and discovering within the confines of the house.

There are two very real tests of this brief:

Firstly –  the homes capacity to not only surprise and stimulate visitors, but on an ongoing basis, stimulate and invigorate the owners, providing a sanctuary for mind and body at the day’s end.

Secondly – to achieve its goal of being highly desirable from a selling perspective despite the forecast downturn in the property market.

Without question, both have been achieved.

Despite the omnipresent war of imbalance, with good taste being restricted by budget, the true victor has been functionality, quality and innovation. Most importantly, we have given this run down centurion not just a makeover, but we have enhanced her life so she can continue to give for another hundred years.

The overall space for the Kitchen/Laundry/Pizza oven/BBQ area was restricted by council rules governing the house and deck encroaching into the riparian zone, thus restricting the dimensions of the extension to the house. However, we were able to overcome these obstacles and the outcome is excellent in terms of functionality, balance and the interaction between the greater kitchen, BBQ and pizza oven works superbly when the bi-folding timber doors are open.

The cast in-situ, off-form concrete bench is the centerpiece of the cooking zone and is a one-stop shop for eating, cleaning and cooking with the benefit that hot trays from the oven do not harm the concrete.

The array of problems with casting one and a half tones of concrete in the vertical base as well as the bench top, 3.0 metres above the basement floor on an integrated steel frame, are too many too mention, but the hours of planning and innovation paid off and the result is stunning. The coup-de-grace being the inversion of the bench top which weighed over 600kg; thanks to teamwork and the expertise of a humble man called Phil, the bench was raised, inverted and lowered in position, without even a chip anywhere on the bench.

The beautifully segued relationship between the hand blown pendant lights, the monotonal mass of shiny concrete against the subtle patina of sassafras sitting perfectly in its surroundings, works effectively and efficiently. Most importantly, the choice of materials, construction methodology and classical design, ensures it will continue to do so for many generations to come.

The high quality cabinetry features horizontally layered, hand selected, blonde sassafras veneers, chosen for warmth, durability and compatibility with the original oak floors and to form a beautiful backdrop for the island bench.

The chef/galley side of the island bench is set up to optimize efficiency when cooking with only a half step from bench to bench and working surfaces positioned at 95 cm for ergonomic benefits.

The bi-folding doors almost double the size of the kitchen when entertaining and dining in summer. The proximity of BBQ, kitchen and pizza oven works like a dream and would delight any chef or entertainer.

Below the stainless steel benches are a series of chef’s drawers which allow for safe and speedy access to all of the regularly used utensils and also preserve the edges of knives and graters.

The excellent storage throughout the kitchen as well as the design and proximity of the European style laundry in conjunction with the orientation to the view and solar aspect all contribute handsomely to create a kitchen that is both striking to the eye and exceeds its performance criteria.