What we love most: The flow of the spaces – from old to new, inside to out – and the feeling of a home that’s loved.
We came across the Haberfield House over here the other day, and just knew it was something that needed more of a story. So we spoke to architect Andrew Nimmo to find out a little more about this warm renovation of a federation home in Sydney’s Inner West.
Could you tell us a little about the owners?
Lovely people, very interested in architecture; myself and my partner, Annabel Lahz
What’s the story of the house?
The existing house was federation-era, with a series of low-grade post war additions to the rear that expanded the size of the house.
When we arrived in 2001 it had been divided into two flats. We immediately converted it back into a single house and made it liveable until we were ready and able to do a more complete renovation.
We also completely re-planted the garden because it would take time to mature. We then started full renovations in 2009/10.
How does the home relate to its environment?
The garden had matured and created a very private and green oasis. The site has no real outlook – so the house is focused in on the garden itself. The rear of the house in particular is designed almost exclusively in response to physical and visual access to the garden.
Were there any unusual uses of material?
The main living box is constructed in glazed brick – the dark brick is a nod to the face brick of the house and surrounding streetscape – but the glazed finish is a conscious departure so that there is a clear distinction between new and old.
The new works are clearly distinguishable and help to define the extent of the original house, which had been muddied through previous careless additions
How did you tailor the home to your needs?
The house can be divided into a parents retreat so teenage children can do what teenage children do without taking over the whole house. Cooking and eating is central to the activities of the house – so a well-crafted kitchen was essential.
I love the outdoor room and its relationship to the garden. When the weather is right [the transition is] seamless.
How does the home reflect your approach to design?
The design is all about how people use, occupy and move through space – the form should feel like it is grafted to the site.
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