The West

Picture: Robert Duncan/The West Australian

Brian Bath was happily living with his wife in Claremont when this renovated heritage-listed home caught his eye.

The couple had downsized years earlier and weren't in the market for a new home, but the striking facade and newly created openness changed their mind.

"It's just a unique home, something very different," Mr Bath said. "We have lots of grandchildren so decided it would be good to have some more space; it's nice and open for when they come over.

"The geometric shapes from the (outside) screens come through the window in the morning and, although we've only been here in the winter so far, it really is a nice summer house."

The Baths have yet to finalise their interior decor but their existing furniture and homewares blend harmoniously with the measured architectural upgrade, which saw the home receive a commendation at the 2012 WA Architecture Awards for Residential Architecture - Alterations and Additions.

"Sometimes you've just got to live in a place for six months and figure out what fits where," he said.

Artwork, rugs, cushions, books, sport-inspired pieces and photographs are some of the accessories they brought with them.

Furniture is predominantly timber-based, including a custom-made dining table, which complements the floorboards and softens the monochrome colour scheme.

Joe Chindarsi, of Chindarsi Architects, was responsible for the impressive renovation and addition, saying the design choices not only set the interior as a neutral base, but also referenced the original era style with a clean contemporary bent.

"The design avoids simple mimicry of the existing Victorian and Federation styles that distinguish the area, but rather is sympathetic and contemporary," Mr Chindarsi said.

"Our brief was to renovate the existing dwelling to function with the newly reduced lot boundaries whilst maintaining connection to the surrounding gardens.

"Existing trees were retained and became a central focus from the sunken deck to the front courtyard."

Mr Chindarsi said previous "incongruous additions" at the street frontage and rear were removed to make room for the new additions and retain the "significant heritage fabric".

Previously lost timber detail at the front veranda and portico was sensitively reinstated.

The addition that most impressed the Baths was the weathering steel external laser-cut screens to the northern and eastern facades, developed in collaboration with Little Design Horse, which draw on the patterns of the stained- glass front door.

"These float 'cloud-like' over the new glazed brickwork base. Acting as a sun-shading device, they cast shadows during the day and become a lantern at night," Mr Chindarsi said.

In another example of indoor-outdoor connections, Mr Chindarsi used glazed brick feature walls in black and white to provide texture similar to the exterior tuck-pointing, without competing in colour.

"The home combines traditional Federation elements with the modern, in a contrasting but complementary combination that is more a careful juxtaposition designed to offset each other. The idea was to enhance the experience of the old with the new."

The West Australian

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