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.