Clifton Crescent Residence

Mount Lawley, Western Australia

A traditional property in need of a modern update – and a solution which proves that ‘contemporary’ and ‘heritage’ do not have to be enemies.

This property, situated on a large block in Mount Lawley, is proof that ‘contemporary’ and ‘heritage’ do not have to be enemies. The owners, a family with young children, were looking to update their luxurious residence with more space and a few modern comforts. The property falls inside the City of Stirling’s Heritage Protection Area, so their chief concern from the outset was the notoriously restrictive nature of council guidelines.

Our design focussed on combining and contrasting the old with the new, rather than trying to make one look like the other. We left most of the original house untouched, with the exception of the kitchen/meals space, which we transformed into a play area. In order to meet council requirements, the parts of the home visible from the street were designed to match the Federation residence, both in their choice of materials – brick, timber and wrought-iron fencing – and in the form of the pitched tiled roof. The rear of the existing house now opens onto the hidden contemporary extension, which has a resort feel and a more modern palette of materials. It also caters to the family’s more contemporary lifestyle, with a powder room, high-tech laundry, generous garage and spacious open-plan living/kitchen/dining area on the ground floor. The outdoor areas were likewise remodelled to make the most of the large garden, with alfresco living spaces and a swimming pool which laps right up against the house.

Privacy was also very important to the owners as their kids were growing up. The upstairs section of the addition is the parents’ retreat, with a sizeable open living space incorporating a study and ‘den’ area. The neighbouring master suite includes a decadent bedroom with ensuite, large walk-in-robes and a balcony overlooking the garden below.