Built in the 1960s, this house in Rye is one of the last examples of the original style in the area. ‘The owners were very concerned about making substantial changes to what was a very intact example of a late modernist home,’ says Antony Martin, director of MRTN Architects. While in great condition, the original home lacked living space, and good connections to the garden that the family required.
As Antony puts it, the new addition ‘is an example of the total being greater than the sum of the parts.’ Though the footprint of the new space is relatively small, the entire house is reimagined. Timber has been used as a major design feature in the ceiling and panelled walls, giving a nod to the surrounding natural environment. Seamless indoor-outdoor living is integrated through vast floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows, giving the owners the opportunity to completely open the house up in the warmer months.
The play between light and dark was important to Antony’s thoughtfully considered design. A sliding, timber-shuttered wall provides a key design feature, throwing slatted light across the kitchen and living areas throughout the day.
With many examples of original mid-century architecture being demolished in favour of modern designs with ‘little merit’, Antony was thrilled to work with a client with an appreciation for the cultural and historic value of the gem they were sitting on. ‘It’s always great to come across people who appreciate these homes as they are… making relatively minor changes to suit contemporary family life’, he says, ‘…if anything, it makes them appreciate the original house even more!’.