This solid brick house in Lilli Pilli, in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, was originally built in 1965 for an engineer. The building remained structurally sound, but was no longer fit for purpose as a family home due to its enclosed and small spaces.
‘It was a functional, no nonsense two storey box. It was well located on the site and offered good bones to work with,’ says Carolyn Miles, director of Watershed Architects, who recently transformed the house. ‘The internal spaces were small and lacked the connectedness that we value today, especially in relation to the outdoors in the form of a usable balcony.’
In renovating and extending the home, Watershed Architects retained as much of the existing brick and concrete structure as possible, and added a timber pavilion above on the sloping site.
‘Stepping the new addition back up the hill from the original structure and floating it above the ground allows an appreciation of the landform that slopes all the way down to the Port Hacking waterfront,’ says Carolyn.
Australian hardwood cladding was chosen for the exterior to deliberately contrast the original masonry building. ‘It seemed like a logical choice given the surrounding trees and the lighter, “floating” feel we were after,’ says Carolyn.
The new pavilion is positioned as an ‘arrival statement’ located at the end of the long and steep driveway, while creating a covered entry area underneath and access down to the waterfront. The interiors contain three new bedrooms and provide access to a new concrete roof atop the original home.
‘We chose a new concrete roof for the existing structure because it would best support a roof garden, require little to no maintenance, and contribute to the excellent thermal mass of the home,’ says Carolyn. ‘By exposing the underside of the slab in the open plan living space below, we were able to maximise the ceiling height and introduce a textural element to the space.’
The formerly narrow balcony was also widened to allow for a barbecue, dining table and lounge area to better appreciate the home’s water views. Large sliding doors on both levels open to the outdoors inclusive of a new terrace and pool below.
The owners say the updated home offers a better transition between levels that embraces the surrounding environment. The quality of the structure is equipped to deal with the coastal climate and offers choice over the degree of openness or privacy desired.