A Heritage Art Deco House in Australia Gets a Modern Update

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By Michele Koh Morollo / Published by Dwell
A heritage inter-war, functionalist-style house gets a dose of contemporary Australian cool.

Built in 1949 in a European modernist style known as inter-war functionalism, the Conway Atkins House in New South Wales, Australia, was updated by Sam Crawford Architects, and is filled with interesting art deco elements inspired by nautical and transportation design.

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The house underwent a renovation that opened up its formerly-cramped interiors, transforming the heritage structure into a cheerful and spacious modern Australian home. 

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Also based in New South Wales, Sam Crawford Architects aimed to retain the assertive historical visage of the old house, while revamping the interiors to include an additional bedroom, refreshed communal zones, and an improved connection to the garden and pool. 

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The communal living area is situated on the ground floor, which includes a large kitchen that's connected to a dining space featuring a spotted gum timber screen. The internal living spaces on this level are linked via a covered pergola that connects to the back garden, swimming pool, and barbecue area, where residents can relax and enjoy the warm Australian sunshine in the summer months.

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Located next to the entryway and a curved staircase is a little study niche that has a wood-framed glass door that can be closed for privacy. Two skylights were created over this study niche as well as over the dining area, flooding these parts of the house with plenty of natural light during the day. 

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On the upper level, a new bedroom with a commodious walk-in wardrobe and ensuite was fitted into the curves of the first floor of the house. 

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Working with a lighting manufacturer, the architects created bespoke tubular pendant lights for the house using hardwood off-cuts inlayed with laser-cut brass. 

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Using a simple color palette and mostly humble materials like wood and concrete, the architects managed to retain the original architectural aesthetics of the house while bringing the home up to date.

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