Rozelle Heritage Alteration

Rozelle Heritage Alteration

A sandstone corner shop with complicated circulation is untangled to become an efficient and spacious family home

Aimee and Peter came to us after acquiring an old sandstone corner shop residence in Rozelle. Despite being well looked after, it had become highly dysfunctional following progressive alterations and additions. The owners loved the fact that their growing family and business would have much more room to move in the house. Firstly though, they needed to resolve the many conflicts with circulation and access that severely compromised the integrity of many of the spaces.

PWA saw a huge sandstone, heritage listed, verandah-clad corner shop that had bedrooms without windows, an uninhabitable attic on level 3 and two massive front rooms on level 1 and 2 that nobody knew what to do with. The spaces were in good condition, but dull with uninspiring lighting and décor.

The solution at first seemed to be quite radical, but after a surgical intervention to the core of the house, everything fell into place. The fundamental change was to completely re-organise the circulation. This meant reversing the existing stair and continuing it up into the attic space. This clearly defined the rooms that fed off it and moved the corridors away from the north wall where they had been taking up valuable window space.

To reinforce this vertical access PWA suggested the insertion of a small dumbwaiter, which allowed for some dramatic role reversals. For a house with such high ceilings and so many level changes as it climbed the side of the hill, it proved itself to be more than worthwhile. Significantly, it allowed for a new kitchen/family room to occupy the old shop on the ground floor, with the entertainment / living / dining areas located directly above with access to the large street verandahs and views to the city.

The key interior design feature of the project was the exposing of the beautiful original coursed and rubble sandstone block walls in certain areas of the house. In the formal lounge, the stonework is delightfully contrasted with the newer intrusions such as the glass dumbwaiter cladding and red glass splashback. PWA was careful with the use of the interior finishes, however, restraining from the temptation to expose every wall as sandstone. In the kitchen, for example, the finishes are uniformly sleek and contemporary, with original stained glass windows providing a subtle link to the building’s history.

The new master bedroom and en-suite occupy the top level of the house, enjoying the best city views. The owners can happily sit reading the paper while having a private breakfast delivered from far below by the silent waiter.