Chelmsford House

North Perth

Making space for the whole family: a classic Federation home pushes the boundaries.

This property was a coveted classic Federation-era house on a corner block in North Perth. The owners wanted to open up the home to the outside, to make the most of the fantastic location and the WA lifestyle for their family. They also wanted more room for a few unique touches which would make it their own.

We needed to rethink the space as a whole, bringing new life to every area of the home – both interior and exterior. We pushed out to the boundary next to the front bedroom, using this otherwise wasted and awkward space as a long ensuite. Similarly, we built a new, discrete section off the kitchen to house a scullery which leads into the laundry and drying court. We also moved the master suite into the new upper level, giving the parents a secluded retreat from the rest of the home, with a private study, ensuite and walk-in-robe. The wide staircase behind the kitchen allowed for a floating bookcase, making this often-transitory space a place where the family can stop and spend a little time.

The veranda, gun-barrel hallway and four rooms at the front were retained. We converted one bedroom into a new bathroom and added a new bedroom at the rear. The L-shaped extension at the rear of the house links the existing structure to a new double garage off the rear laneway. We also built a high masonry wall to maintain privacy from the street. Together, these elements create a new, sheltered courtyard with a north-east aspect, making the most of the winter sun while protecting the home from the harsh south-westerly weather. At the rear, Kyle Hughes Odgers street art completes the picture.

The finishes and the choice of materials were very important for this home, offering a way to unite the new and the old, as well as the inside and the outside. External timber joinery and cladding connects with the timber elements internally, and polished concrete floors provide a seamless transition between the two. Details were carefully chosen, referencing the various time periods evident in the home’s history; from the Edwardian etching on the shower to the 1970s-inspired blue tiling in the upstairs ensuite.

The result is a home that uses every available space to add something to the lives of the family who live there – the highest achievement of any renovation.