A Streamlined Addition Revives a Gloomy Victorian in Sydney

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By Melissa Dalton / Published by Melissa Dalton
The owners of this semi-detached, south-facing home asked the architects to bring in the light.

There was just one catch: the home sits in a heritage conservation area in the Queens Park neighborhood, so Sydney-based Marston Architects needed to preserve the original Victorian facade. They did so by keeping the frontage and existing roofline intact, then incorporating a contemporary, split-level rear addition that connects to the original house via a breezeway.  

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Overall, the project is a successful exercise in balancing old and new, as well as light and privacy, in a dense urban environment. Now, the home's interior is awash with sun, thanks to several clever features. The architects inserted a skylight along the northern party wall, which is clad in recycled brick, to bring natural light into what would be an otherwise dark corridor.  The polished concrete floors and white waxed walls further brighten the space.

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On the ground floor of the addition, two full-height Vitrocsa pivot doors coax additional sun into the new living area, while also providing access to the reworked backyard.

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On the upper level of the addition, a new bedroom received a string of north-facing transom windows, so as to maintain privacy without sacrificing much-needed illumination. 

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