HOUSE DESIGN | Transforming outdated to unbelievable

Reinventing a 1980s red brick veneer house into a modern warehouse-inspired family home that commands views over West Hobart. Pictures: Adam Gibson.
Reinventing a 1980s red brick veneer house into a modern warehouse-inspired family home that commands views over West Hobart. Pictures: Adam Gibson.

With its expansive sense of space and enviable views over West Hobart, it's hard to believe that such a sleekly appointed, modern, family home was once a humble 1980s red brick veneer house.

Sitting high on a hill, gazing out toward River Derment and the mountainous landscape beyond, the Knocklofty House transformation drew inspiration from urban warehouse styles, and open-plan living.

Project architect, Preston Lane Architects Director Daniel Lane said the clients desired a warehouse-loft-inspired home that focused on voids, volume, contrast and raw materials.

However, rather than knocking down the existing house and rebuilding from scratch, Lane said the project incorporated what could be reused and reinvented.

"We thoroughly enjoyed working on the project, it was something different," Lane said.

"Rather than knocking down and starting again, I think there is sometimes an opportunity to look at what you've got and reuse where you can.

"Those brick veneer homes of the 1980s, didn't really accommodate the views, the light or the sun, but by making alterations you can really recreate homes of that era and accommodate the best of the qualities we all desire in a home," Lane said.

Together with associate architect Benn Turner, Gandy and Roberts engineers and Building Edge builders, Preston Lane Architects set out to transform the outdated brick house into a very modern, bespoke family home that captured the views, light and a sense of space.

To meet the clients' brief the existing roof was removed, the building was simplified, internal walls to the living spaces demolished and a new level was added.

"The clients wished for a parents lofty retreat to overlook the main living spaces and capture the spectacular view," Lane said.

"From here, the parents have an office, extensive bookshelf and daybed in the sun to read.

"These alterations enable social interaction between indoor and outdoor spaces, but also between the living spaces and parents' loft above."

Reinforcing the warehouse aesthetic throughout the home, the clients commissioned local artist 'Jamin' to paint a contemporary street-style artwork in the void.

Instead of just being an art piece on the wall, it becomes a part of the building itself, as do the views.

But the trade off for such vast views is a steep block.

This led to a key challenge of the project, which was that the steep site restricted connection between the living space and the garden.

To overcome this, an outdoor room became a sheltered extension of the living area, opened on warm days.

"This space responds to the ever-changing climate in Hobart and has large sliding doors that enable the house to open up completely onto a deck," Lane said.

Capitalising on the idea of void spaces, the kitchen is black and recessive, allowing the void over the dining space to be the focal point of the house, Lane said.

A simple, black fireplace rests upon a concrete plinth and all the steel work is painted black - contrasting the white walls and ceilings.

Simple mild steel balustrades are recessive and serve a practical function but do not impede the view due to their thin vertical design.

The clients invited a restrained colour palette so that the view and their furnishings, artwork and indoor plants could be the heroes.

The living space captures the view and sun throughout the day amplifying the sense of volume in the space as it draws in light to create luxurious, modern living areas for a growing family to enjoy for years to come.

  • Produced with BowerBird