A Forever Home That Celebrates The Past

This renovation in Rose Bay sensitively and playfully brings a new identity to a California Bungalow, without erasing the rich history of the property. 

Architect Ricci Bloch describes her ‘soft conservation’ approach, turning this heritage property into a ‘forever home’ for the lucky clients.

Miriam McGarry
Supports The Design Files

The Rose Bay house, renovated by Ricci Bloch and build by AJA Projects. Landscaping in collaboration with Starr Landscapes. Bluestone steppers from Eco Outdoor. Front door handle from Interia and front door painted in Dulux Deep Aqua. Exterior of house painted Dulux Lexicon Quarter and Monument. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

The renovation brings a new connection between the outside and inside. Calacatta Viola stone key drop. Ceramic object from Koskela. Front entry porch tiles Marrakech from Teranova Tiles. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

The portico and white walls continue the Palm Springs Modernism aesthetic. Front door handle from Interia and front door painted in Dulux Deep Aqua. Exterior of house painted Dulux Lexicon Quarter and Monument. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

The new addition at the back draws out the the grass and sky. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Left: Outdoor furniture from Eco Outdoor Hutt sofa and armchair, Hunter Easy chairs and Claybourne coffee table. Right: Eco Outdoor Endicott crazy paving and Ord modular outdoor lounge. Custom made outdoor cushions Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Marset Soho pendant lights and Aura wall light from Est Lighting. Rugs from Perrymans Carpets. Molloy dining chairs from Cult. Eames chair and side table from Living Edge. Artwork on fireplace by Roze from Project 82 and ceramic objects by Bev Silbermann Ceramics. Hunter Easy chairs and Hutt armchair from Eco Outdoor. Linen curtains from Simple Studio. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Letting the light in. Joinery handle from Interia. Rug from Perrymans Rugs. Side table from Living Edge. Linen curtains from Simple Studio. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Rug from Perrymans rugs. Marset Aura wall light from Est Lighting. Artwork on fireplace by Roze from Project 82. Curtains from Simple Studio. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

A drinks cabinet was a necessity! Rug from Perrymans. Molloy dining chairs from Cult. Marset Soho pendant lights from Est Lighting. Ceramic vases/jugs and mixing bowl from Mud. Artwork by Roze from Project 82. Other objects client’s own. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

The ironbark floorboards run throughout the entire home. Mabel side table from Project 82. Rug from Perrymans. ceramics in bookshelves by Natalie Rosin, Bev Silbermann Ceramics and client’s own. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

A serene dining space. Molloy dining chairs from Cult. Marset Soho pendants from Est Lighting. Vases/jugs and mixing bowl from Mud.  Natalie Rosin ceramic object on books. Rug from Perrymans. Curtains Simple Studio. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

A perfectly organised kitchen. Custom black stained veneer to kitchen. Savoy dark stone benchtops from Worldstone Solutions. Moroccan zellige splashback from Onsite Supply & Design. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Crisp and clean kitchen details. Roman pendant from Masson for Light. Mud vase. Bar stools client’s own. Brodware kitchen mixer in brushed nickel PVD finish. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Bedroom details. Lucy Anderson artwork on board. MCM House khaki linen bedhead. Muuto Tip table lamp from Living Edge. Aliya bedside table from Grazia & Co. Artek side table. Carpet from Whitecliffe Imports. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Bedside flowers in the fresh bedroom. Custom designed credenza in Tasmanian Oak with timber handles from Interia. Natalie Rosin ceramic vase. Curtains from Simple Studio. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Bright white bathroom details. Flos Mini Glo Ball wall lights from Euroluce. Custom Tasmanian Oak framed shaving cabinet. Missoni hand towel. Brodware Tapware. Roger Seller towel rail. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

A sleek black and white bathroom. Calacutta Viola stone ledge. Brodware tapware. Chris Colwell American Oak robe hooks. Sheridan towel. Di Lorenzo Paradise encaustic cement floor tiles. Photo – Tom Ferguson.

Miriam McGarry
26th of August 2019

The owners of this property approached architect Ricci Bloch with a vision to turn their California Bungalow in Rose Bay into their ‘forever home’. Ricci describes how they wanted a home to grow old in, all on one level, but that also retained the bungalow appearance from the street view. The architects took a ‘whole-of-site’ approach, that incorporated the landscape, internal replanning, and creating new connections between the garden, sky and renovated home. 

The renovation reconfigures the internal planning to transform the front of the home into a zone for sleeping and working, and the rear for entertaining. An open but distinct kitchen was designed, complete with scullery, laundry, appliance nook and cocktail bar. The kitchen and living room are also given a new connection to the lush back garden. 

At the rear of the home, the architects added a single-story painted brick extension. The old and the new elements of the building are distinguished through the use of materials, where darker timbers are introduced in the new dining, kitchen and living space – contrasting with the light oak joinery in the front bedrooms. To provide continuity, rich ironbark floorboards provide a unifying path throughout the home. 

The material palette takes inspiration from a Palm Springs Modernist aesthetic, with a focus on natural timber, ceramics, concrete and stone. The renovations also emphasise this architectural influence, in highlighting the pre-existing extended horizontal lines, white-painted brick walls, and garden pockets. 

Ricci explains that this renovation was largely successful as a result of the client’s desire to retain the original structure of the home, and keep to one storey. She highlights ‘the commitment to working with the existing fabric, rather than designing it out of spaces, have actually made the spaces better and more beautiful.’ 

For Ricci, this project is important in showing the value of adaptive re-use. She explains ‘in a street where similar period bungalows are being replaced with massive houses, this project makes a virtue of spatial quality over size.’ By working at a human scale, and following a ‘soft conservation’ approach, this renovation demonstrates the beauty of updating older homes, bringing new futures while keeping a history alive.  A forever home, that celebrates its past. 

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