The Timberland house by sw-architects was architect Sally Wilson’s opportunity to apply all of her design skills to her own home. She explains ‘after years of designing homes for others, Timberland presented the opportunity for me to unleash complete creative control, and create a new addition for my family.’
The growing family needed a larger living space, new wet areas and craved greater connection to the outdoors. Sally explains that the process of renovating and extending the 1898 sandstone cottage took ‘nearly three years, two pregnancies and countless hours of hands-on labour.’
What guided the project was a ‘unique constraint’ of a 60-year-old 11-metre-tall oak tree in the backyard. Rather than view this as a limitation, Sally used this gentle giant to inform the identity of the project. The tree was welcomed into the home, through careful framing, to avoid overshadowing within a site that lacked northern orientation.
The addition at the rear of the home captures passive sunlight, and envelopes a private internal courtyard. The renovations also needed to provide a new office for sw-architects, as well as facilitating a direct view for Sally to watch over her son playing the backyard.
A timber-lined ‘cabin’ aesthetic is emphasised here through the use of fast-growing plantation Blackbutt timber. Sally explains ‘timber linings extend beyond the glazed windows, guiding your eye along the ceiling to the oak tree beyond, further expanding the living space, and four large sliding doors retract to fully open the cabin to the exterior.’
The interiors carry the warm timber into the house, offset by burnished concrete floors in the studio, a black ceiling in the bathroom, and charcoal porcelain in the kitchen.
For Sally, designing her own family home has been a process of evolution of experimentation. The result, she says, is a ‘well detailed, hand crafted addition that has enhanced the lives of my family.’