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Case studies

The good house redefined
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An extension for a large family


BACKGROUND INFORMATION
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The owners found that after the arrival of a new set of twins, their home was too small to accommodate comfortably a family of seven. Their brief called for two additional bedrooms, including one near the master bedroom, a larger study, a roomier entry, an extension to the family room and master bedroom, as well as a largish deck and a pool both easily accessible from the living areas. 

They wished to retain a set of formal and informal living areas.

KEY FACTS
point Service provided   Design, permits, interior design, contract administration
point Project type   Home extension and new pool
point Home location   City of Manningham
point Original home built   1970s
point Land size   1265sqm
point Existing floor area (over 2 stories)   231sqm (25 squares)
point Proposed floor area (over 2 stories)   284sqm (32 squares)
point Budget   $250,000 (includes extensions and new bathroom, laundry, kitchen, ensuite, decking and pool)

SITE NOTES
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Access to the steep backyard is from the family room, at the far end of the house. As a result, the backyard is not often used.
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The dining area is dark as it is far from any windows, the result of a previous extension.
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The path from the entry to the kitchen is convoluted; the kitchen seems to be cut off from the rest of the home.
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The front elevation is unappealing, presenting as a long and low brick veneer home topped with another long and low cedar-clad upper storey.
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The entry is very narrow and does not offer space for shoes, bags or coats, which is not functional for a large family.

THE NEW DESIGN
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Conservation: Great care was taken to make the best use of the available floor area, reallocating some rooms to another use without undue wall changes. Keeping existing internal walls in place reduces costs and environmental footprint, as it minimizes or eliminates the need for reframing, patching floors, rewiring and re-plastering. Many materials were recycled and included in the transformation: windows, doors, bricks and miscellaneous sections of timber.
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Functionality: The kitchen is redesigned and opened on three sides to ensure easy access to and from different rooms. The old entry is converted into a walk-in robe for the master bedroom, while the old study is converted into a new entry, conveniently aligned with the stairs leading down to living areas. All these changes simplify circulation in the home. Both formal and informal living areas were given easy access to a North-facing sweeping deck located a few steps down and overlooking the new pool.

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Light and view: The dark cathedral ceiling over the dining and living area was partially removed and reset down, allowing for a north-facing line of high windows to be placed between the two rooms. Occupants now enjoy a view of swaying trees from the balustraded corridor, where all they had before was the close view of a dark ceiling. The natural light level in the centre the home has increased dramatically in the process.

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Insulation: Insulation was upgraded to R4 in the ceiling and all new windows were specified with double-glazing and Argon gas filling.

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Indoor air quality: Paints with no emissions (zero VOC) were chosen for the home interior, while entirely natural paints were chosen for bedrooms. Tiles are glued with non-toxic glue and plasterboard is fixed using screws rather than chemical glues.

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Electro-Magnetic Radiation: The electrical switchboard was located right behind the master bedroom bed head. It was decided to move it around the exterior corner, and shield the remaining electro-magnetic field with special wall paint.

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Water: Two interconnected 4500l rainwater tanks were installed under the family room to serve the garden. Taps and shower heads were chosen for water-efficiency.

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