Simon Anderson, principal of Anderson Architecture, believes that a home’s livability begins and ends with its orientation, so that was the priority when he designed the Suntrap.
"Although the living areas were recently upgraded by past owners, the home functioned poorly thermally. The major living areas faced south, and were therefore dark, cold, and dimly lit. The excessively tall ceilings made them cavernous and unfriendly," says Anderson.
The owners of the federation-style heritage home are an environmentally conscious family who collect art. They wanted their home to embrace the Australian landscape while providing more space. They also sought to improve the home's connection to the backyard and to make the interiors brighter and warmer.
Anderson demolished the old addition, created a new and more expansive master bedroom on the first floor, and reduced the number of additional bedrooms to created a more spacious and modern 2,550-square-foot home.
The communal areas are centered around a new northern courtyard with windows designed to draw sunlight into the heart of the home. This allows the family to sit at a new 16-foot-long kitchen island bench with the winter sun at their back. This design strategy doubled the thermal efficiency of the communal areas from 3.2 to 6.4 stars.
The new internal courtyard opens the heart of the home to the sun. Strategically placed eco-friendly concrete walls and hydronic heated flooring bring heat gain to the cold zones. Heavily insulated prefabricated wall and roof panels, and double-glazed windows ensure comfortable indoor temperatures, while new awnings allow sunlight to enter the home during the winter months.
Anderson reclaimed spotted gum from the old addition for the kitchen floor and cabinetry, and repurposed bricks from the old kitchen to add thermal mass to the wall in the backyard. This brick wall conceals a 1,400-liter tank that supplies rainwater to nourish the newly landscaped garden.
In the garden, a horticulturist included native plants that encourage birdlife and other local fauna. In the internal courtyard, the trunks of Xanthorrhoea trees echo the addition’s blackened timber cladding.
"Our gorgeous, cantilevered stair detail adds a sculptural element alongside the courtyard, but it also lets in beautiful morning sun as the family sits at the kitchen bench for breakfast," says Anderson.
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