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Old English Style Meets Japanese Serenity In This Spectacular 1930s Home

Architecture

The old-world charm of this Perth heritage home has been thoughtfully channelled into a transformative – and spectacular – renovation.

Dalkeith House was designed by prominent local architect Marshall Clifton in the 1930s, but only ‘glimpses’ of its original structure remained after a number of dated additions and renovations.

After stripping the old house back to its core, Suzanne Hunt Architect celebrates its Interwar Old English roots, while turning it into a modern sanctuary with Japanese influences, with serene interiors and gardens!

17th January, 2023

The striking Dalkeith home by Suzanne Hunt Architect. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

 

The renovation tackled the restoration and renovation 1930s home’s existing structure, while also creating a new extension. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

Built in 1938 and designed by prominent architect Marshall Clifton, the home has been recognised for its heritage significance. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

Its Interwar Old English style has been beautifully woven into the modern home that lies inside. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

‘The landscaping brief was to be true to the era but include a veggie patch to the south with easy access for our client, and enhance a secondary entrance off the side road with Japanese aesthetics,’ Suzanne says. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

Damien Pericles from Realm Studios was the landscape architect, with landscaping by Almond Gardens. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

A calming living space. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

A playful circular window adds a sense of character in the dining room. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

All original windows frames have been kept and glazing upgraded to current requirements, with new additions throughout. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

The new, sleek kitchen! Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

A step down makes way for the modern extension. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

Beautiful arches play on the home’s history while bringing in new views. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

Minimalistic and Japanese-inspired aesthetics fill the home with a sense of calm. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

Timber furniture complements the tonal backdrop. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

A look into the Japanese tea room! Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

One of the home’s beautiful bathrooms. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

The charming, restored facade has been repainted white in line with the original picture. Photo – Dion Robeson. Editorial styling – Anna Flanders

Christina Karras
Tuesday 17th January 2023

‘We felt it was a privilege to honour Clifton’s work and followed his lead so to speak’ – Suzanne Hunt

When Suzanne Hunt Architect was engaged to renovate a significant heritage home in Dalkeith, Western Australia, she took cues from the property’s past in order to create something new.

Originally designed by Marshall Clifton and built in 1938, the home’s Interwar Old English design had been recognised as an early example of the architect’s work, who was particularly influential in creating the local streetscape. Despite this, it was ‘tired and unloved’ after many decades of mismatched additions and renovations that felt dated, and detracted from the property’s beauty.

‘The original home was on the Municipal Inventory, but at a low level, so it could have been potentially demolished,’ Principal Architect Suzanne explains. ‘We felt it was a privilege to honour Clifton’s work and followed his lead so to speak.’

Having seen only ‘glimpses’ of the Marshall Clifton’s initial vision in the home, they engaged specialist heritage architect Katrina Chisholm, who found the original plans that helped strip the old house back to its core. The overall brief was to create a ‘calm sanctuary’ for the owner, an intensive care doctor, and his son, that could help him wash the daily stress away – particularly amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘Our design intent was to have a soft touch, revealing and celebrating the original design like the cushioned stone fireplace in the lounge and the original exposed timber feature beam that had been (sacrilegiously!) covered up,’ she added.

The renovation restored the existing property, only removing an asbestos-riddled lean to, pool, pergolas and garage. They also created a 205sq m addition, which incorporated a new kitchen, dining, living, laundry, two-car garage and powder room.

‘The interior refurbishment of the old house was easy once we removed all the intrusive fabric that had been added over the years,’ Suzanne says. ‘The house seems to come alive, and you saw its true personality.’

In championing the house’s roots, the thoughtful re-design is filled with contemporary nods to its origins. A step-down into leading to the extension’s living spaces helps seamlessly connect the old and new, while the exterior’s charming bagged brickwork, distinctive terracotta tiles and white facade are referenced in the use of Austral La Paloma bricks and the terracotta chimney.

New arched windows help capture beautiful valley views, and sliding glass doors open the spaces for entertaining outside – ensuring the home’s beautiful sense of tranquility. A large circular window is also a playful highlight of the dining room, bringing in natural light, breeze and a peek into the garden, but ‘every room’ has a direct connection to the Japanese-inspired landscaping. They also converted the old living room into a serene ‘Japanese tea room’!

‘This is not about “look at me” design,’ Suzanne notes. ‘It was and will always be about weaving the heritage of a place and integrating this knowledge with our client’s needs into beautiful architecture, internally and externally.’

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net