Stone House is the alteration to a single storey vernacular house in the rural landscape setting of northern NSW Australia. The original house was built with local materials and craftsmanship. Over the years various additions were made to the house exhibiting the different layers in its occupation. The brief was to renovate the house within a limited budget whilst offering better living arrangements for a humble complementary house for guests to stay near by rather than loading the main site with accommodation. Our proposal was to reinstate value with little intervention; with this in mind we had two design strategies.
One was the idea of preservation; wherever possible elements of the building fabric would be salvaged but only to reveal its qualities in a meaningful way. We identified four building elements worth preserving. The stone wall was providing protection and privacy from the main road. The internal masonry walls were defining rooms at the rear of the house. The expressed timber ceiling provided a unifying canvas within the whole house. The concrete floor offered a calming palette to the house. Second was the idea of addition. Given the budget limitations, the additions had to be singular and multifunctional. A ‘breathable’ facade frame was the response. The frame was inserted along the whole length of the building. The new facade had a number of uses. It allowed supporting the roof rafters along the length of the building hence both creating a open plan arrangement that would enjoy the beautiful district views as well as enabling a strong connection to the extensive backyard. The new facade is composed of glazed sliding doors fitted with flyscreens to mitigate the impact of insects very common in this sub-tropical climate. Lastly, a set of retractable slatted blinds was integrated to provide both shade from the afternoon sun and security during unattended seasons.
Stone House combines these two design ideas into a simple calming palette; within the house all walls and floors were kept to neutral tones to reveal the exposed timber rafters as the only feature of the interior. The shell of the house merges the existing stone work with the new ‘frame’ creating a whole new and most importantly a clear relationship to the landscape beyond.