Back Storied

By Diana Budds / Published by Dwell
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Without altering its turn-of-the-20th-century facade, architect Christopher Polly transformed the rear of this Newtown, Australia, home from bleak to bright.

When the Haines family approached architect Christopher Polly to renovate their home, they gave him an enviably open-ended directive: "See what you can come up with—we don’t want to restrict you." The only caveat: The home’s facade, which dates back to 1890 and whose renovation would have to meet stringent conservation requirements, had to remain the same. Polly’s solution was to graft an airy modern addition to the rear of the home. A louvered clerestory of low-e glazed windows naturally ventilates the new space; ample built-in storage completes the crisp, uncluttered interior. Pocket doors and finishes that extend outside seamlessly bridge the combined living-kitchen-dining area with the garden, and help achieve a spacious feel.

Material Pleasures
Floor:  Polished concrete
Walls: Pine shiplap boards with Dulux paint in black; Laminex laminate finishes
Windows: Viridian ComfortPlus; Breezway Altair louvered windows
Lighting: Sonora pendant lamps by Oluce
Furniture: Grasshopper chair by Modernica; Stool 60 by Alvar Aalto for Artek

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Project: Haines House

Diana Budds


A New York-based writer, Diana studied art history and environmental policy at UC Davis. Before rising to Senior Editor at Dwell—where she helped craft product coverage, features, and more—Diana worked in the Architecture and Design departments at MoMA and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She counts finishing a 5K as one of her greatest accomplishments, gets excited about any travel involving trains, and her favorite magazine section is Rewind. Learn more about Diana at:

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