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Abbotsford House was conceived as a renovation and retrofit of an existing Edwardian dwelling, responding to the client’s desire to live sustainably.  Packed with both passive and active sustainable design features, the house achieves a high standard of low-energy solutions for internal climate control.

With heritage restrictions, the significantly dilapidated original house was demolished, to be rebuilt in accordance with detailed reconstruction drawings.   To satisfy heritage requirements, the front four rooms were rebuilt to replicate the building being removed, and with the addition of new living spaces at ground level, a new first floor with a master bedroom suite, and a new workshop / garage facing the rear laneway.  The rear extension departs from the traditional, and uses an eclectic mix of galvanised steel, brick, timber & pressed patterned metal.

Sensitive use of materials and a restrained palette produce calm spaces infiltrated by unexpected playfulness.  Features include a polished concrete floor, heavy use of sustainable bamboo products as both flooring and cabinetry materials.

Entering the rebuilt portion of the dwelling, the main sense that the house has been altered does not arrive until the centrally located stairwell is reached.  Turning around a full 270 degrees in short stair runs, the stair features a central water feature with low level windows to an internal courtyard, and is capped at roof level with a cupola and electrically operated windows allowing excellent natural ventilation through the “stack” effect.  A small internal pond within the stair zone allows maximum utilisation of the solar chimney principle within a modest envelope, allowing natural evaporative cooling to occur during the warmer months.

The completed house is an uncompromising mixture of traditional and contemporary, unapologetic in the juxtaposition of styles a century apart.