Pond House
Christine Francis

Pond House (“Marrandillas”)

Nic Owen Architects as Architects

■ Untouched for over 50 years this grand old Edwardian manor in Camberwell was a museum piece when recently purchased by the new owners. The family of 5 loved the period details and had dreamed of living in this street and exact house for many years.

■ The brief called for a modern extension of open plan living overlooking a reflection pond plus the addition of bedrooms and upgraded facilities throughout.

■ The design solution resulted in the creation of two separate ‘pod’ structures linked to the rear of the existing house through glass walkways. One pod includes two new bedrooms and the other pod contains the new open plan kitchen / family / meals areas.

■ This separation of new and old clearly defines both eras respectfully with the new work sensitivity complimenting the old period structure.

■ The extension runs along the south boundary to capitalise on northern solar gain, reorientating the existing relationship to the backyard.

■ The grand old Edwardian manor has be rejuvenated to provide a backdrop for further family fun, experiences and memories.

■ Due to heritage constraints the new works are not visible from the street. The new works are sympathetic in scale and form and respect the original Edwardian brick house celebrating the original features.

■ A new brick carport is located at the rear of the property with access via the rear laneway.

■ Form, mass and materials of the new extension have been carefully considered to complement and enhance the existing character of the subject house and retain original features.


A new chapter for “Marrandillas”

A remarkable old house with a known history is uncommon for a property of this vintage.

■ “Marrandillas” (the house) is about to turn 117 years old and has had a colourful and full life to date. Countless memories, life changes, hopes and fears are all held within her walls, observing the finite human condition, the circle of life. A new family and a new set of circumstances have arrived.

■ The new century brings the biggest changes for ‘Marrandillas’. The new owners a family of 5 love the ‘Modern’ period in artwork, artefacts and desired to respect the past and reflect this in their new house extension. The owners have a deep respect and commitment to the past (in fact all the historical research of the property was undertaken by the owners). The unique architectural ‘pod’ extensions are connected to the existing house via three glass walkways to ensure both the new and old are identifiable and respected. The pods have flat roofs which extend to the north to provide shading and fold down to the west to offer shelter from the hot afternoon sunlight.

■ “Marrandillas” now has a pond. The new reflective pond wraps around the north / west side of the living room extension providing a tranquil relaxing outlook plus aids with evaporate cooling during the hotter months. The pond contains 15 comet goldfish, the new family members have names such as: Graham, Yeti and Shubunkin. Embracing the aquatic experience access from inside to outside is over the pond via stepping stones.

■ Over the pond to the north an original Jacaranda tree has been retained (the site featured very few significant original trees) this provides a lush backdrop and shade in the summer. Adjacent to the tree sits a complementary sculpture titled ‘Chartreuse Ballerinas’ by John Cerlienco resembling a man-made version of the Jacaranda tree.

■ The beautiful texture of the painted recycled brickwork reflect back to a ‘Modern’ period whilst providing a contemporary take on the original Edwardian soil brick walls.

■ The new extension adds modern life zest to a notable period classic.

Audience: home owners, home builders, architects & designers

History of the original house named: “Marrandillas”

■ The original dwelling was constructed soon after the purchase of the land around 1900 making it one of the oldest dwellings in this section of the street.

■ The land was purchased by Rose Constance Boyce from Bertha Martha Baillieu on the 18th December 1899. The land forms part of the “Russell Estate” which was subdivided and sold by the Baillieu family.

■ The Certificate of Title indicates that there is a restrictive covenant over the property which essentially bound Rose Constance Boyce to construct a brick or stone single dwelling on the property, with a front entrance orientated to Broadway and that the cost of constructing the dwelling should be no less than £750.

■ A Board of Works Sewer plan dated 1904 indicates that the subject property was known as “Marrandillas”. Investigations have revealed that this is almost certainly a misspelling of Marandellas in Zimbabwe (and now known as Maronderra) which was a major staging post for Australian soldiers during the Boer War (1899-1902).

■ For a period of time the house was renamed “Ripley” after the property was purchased by the Mercy family in 1919. George Granville Mercy was Mayor of Camberwell from 1906-1907 and was a prominent man in the community serving on various committees and associations. George Mercy died in 1935 aged 84 years and his wife Eliza May Mercy was the owner of the property until her death in 1950 when it was bequeathed to the Mercy’s two children. The property was sold in 1956 to Dr Robert William Henderson, a biochemist. He owned and lived in the property until it was sold to the current owners. The current owners have reinstated the original name “Marrandillas”.

■ Interestingly the distinctive chimneys of the house can be seen in the background of a photograph on page 107 of Ian Evans’ book “The Federation House”. The photograph of the streetscape shows “Wee Nestie” 69 Broadway and “Ballara” 73 Broadway in the foreground – number 71 Broadway had not been constructed at the time the photograph was taken.

■ Council records indicate that there were some additions and alterations carried out on the house in 1934, that a garage was constructed in 1935 and that the rear wall of the dwelling was altered in the 1960s to create a sunroom, nursery and laundry. Other than these specified works, it would appear that the original footprint of the dwelling remains largely intact.


■ Sympathetic response to period structure and neighbourhood

■ Integrated reflective pond provides tranquillity and climate control.

■ Integrity of historic house and details retained

■ Original streetscape retained

■ Maximisation of daylight and cross ventilation

■ Rigorous passive solar design

■ Strong connection with outdoors

■ Extensive use of natural finishes & recycled materials

■ Low maintenance finishes

■ Articulated roof planes response to external forces


■ My aim for this project was to create a modern unique sculptured form addressing the client’s requirements and site restraints whilst paying respect to the past.

■ Sitting the extension around a reflective pond gave a great opportunity to explore the timeless and tranquil quality of water.


“The fish have names!” - Nic Owen

“I could do some serious coffee time gazing over the reflective pond” - Josie Backhouse


Structure - Existing solid brick walls, new solid brick walls

Walls & Cladding - Exposed original brick walls, painted recycled brick walls, Colorbond sheet metal

Roofing - Colorbond sheet metal

Glazing & doors - Double glazed Capral 400 series aluminium

Finishes - Baltic pine timber flooring, polished concrete flooring, hoop pine plywood joinery and linings, Pietra Grigio marble bench-tops, bluestone tiles

Fixtures - Custom solar shade devices; Custom coffee table (brass, glass, formply ) by Joe Seaton

Lighting - Volker Hang custom lighting and Richmond Custom LED lighting,

Electrical - A/C, Jetmaster wood burner fireplace

Appliances - Miele oven, cooktop, dishwasher, Qasair rangehood, Fisher & Paykel integrated refrigerator, Uptown sink, Par Lugano taps, Pariri Torquay basin & toilet

Project Credits
Landscape Architects
Building surveyor
Product Spec Sheet

Glazing & Doors - Capral 400 series aluminiumCapral
Roofing - Colorbond sheet metalColorbond
Product Spec Sheet
Glazing & Doors - Capral 400 series aluminium
by Capral
Roofing - Colorbond sheet metal
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