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Wonderfully modern Silver Street House created from old cottage by EHDO

By • Mar 11, 2019

Although it still sits on a street filled with classic turn-of-the0century limestone and weatherboard cottages, the newly renovated Silver Street House, recently completed by creative design teams at , is no longer just another example of that style amidst the rest! Instead, this home in South Fremantle, Australia was redone for a semi-retired couple in order to give them a contemporary looking yet cozy home escape now that they’re winding down their daily routines.

From start to finish, the Silver Street House took five years to complete. At first, small changes or renovations were made here and there until it was decided by both the designers and their clients that a full overhaul to make a stunning new space that still fit well in the old plot should be done. The idea was not without challenge, however. The plot where the house stands is quite narrow, measuring 368 square metres, but it’s also divided almost completely in two by a diagonal skewer easement that will not support permanent building.

Rather than feeling stunted by this slight hitch in potential building plans, the designers decided to take it as an opportunity to get creative. Ideas for different ways to blend engagement between domestic places and the public street, as well as internal and external home spaces, began to arise and a lot of discussion about the relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces emerged.

To account for the easement, the home is built in two separate volumes that are linked by indoor and outdoor spaces where dwellers can travel across the space that cannot support a building. The ground floor, which is built on the lower side of the plot, features walls that are basically removable in the way they can be thrown open and slide back entirely, blending indoor spaces like the living room with the patio and yard.

The upstairs volume of the house, which sits at an angle to the ground level, is where the sleeping and private retreat areas reside. These were designed and decorated to be a sort of private relaxation space when the plethora of social and hosting spaces are not being used. The upstairs volume is extremely thick walled, which keeps it cool, quiet, and very private indeed, without feeling closed in. Large windows that open entirely and some balcony seating make sure it can still be blended with the outdoors as well.

The materials used throughout the house, as well as in the exterior, were specifically chosen for the way they created a sense of communication with nature. Sure, the street is a residential one in a city, but it’s still quiet and features lush greenery and designers didn’t want to lose that in building a sense of updated modernity. They locally sourced wood and granite, for example, accepting pieces with visual marks from wear and tear or weathering rather than looking for ones that were nearly pristine.

In addition to wood, which you can see was used liberally, this house also features natural and locally sourced off-form concrete, brickwork, and even a few Australian Cypress trees planted in the yard that, while not used to build anything, were transferred safely and kindly from another place in the local area and planted to flourish here and create even more cohesiveness between the house and its surrounding environment.

Thought the volumes of the house are quite large and the shape might look intimidating from the outside, there’s a sense of playful comfort one can feel as soon as you’ve passed through the doors. This is partially thanks to the way natural light is prioritized and allowed to flood into just about every space from floor to ceiling windows or fully retracting doors that make certain rooms, like the living room and kitchen, feel like you’ve truly taken out an entire wall to let the fresh air in.

The house is also quite green when it comes to heating and cooling systems! For example, high insulated R9 wall panels surround the upper volume, giving it increased thermal stability so that mechanic heating and cooling systems aren’t often needed. There are also several places where polycarbonate core-flue walling provide a type of shade from angles where the hottest, most direct sunlight might hit, reducing heat in the midst of summer but still giving a sort of ambient glow as far as light is concerned.

Of course, we’ve talked a lot about the blending of indoor and outdoor spaces and the prioritizing of plant life and surrounding nature, so we’re sure you’ll be less than surprised to hear that a stunning yard and lushly surrounded patio can be found out the back of the house. Trees and climbing plants give a sense of serene privacy while a lovely pond serves as a centre piece.

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