Courtyard House

Retired Couple
Architectural & Interiors
Simon Whitbread

Brief: Remodelling the back of an existing terrace house to create a new kitchen, bathroom and living space separated by a courtyard. Future proofing the house to be liveable on one level so that the clients can age comfortably in place. Also increasing natural light, a sense of space and openness, resolve excessive dampness, heat in summer, poor air movement and limited access to the garden.

Challenges: Working around constraints such as the narrow 4m width site, tall neighbouring house to the north, extreme rising damp to masonry, failing foundations, termite damage and internal stormwater drainage issues. All on a modest budget.

Solutions: The ground level masonry at the rear of the house required to be selectively demolished and re-supported on steel posts to resolve rising damp and subfloor issues. This also allowed for walls to be removed and glazing inserted around a new internal courtyard, drawing light, air and canopy views to completely transform the kitchen. The court replaced a laundry which was moved below the existing staircase. A breakfast bench opposite the kitchen faces a second internal court, allowing a connection to outside and the main circulation spine to function as additional kitchen space. At the rear a new living space is topped with a skillion roof with highlight louvre glazing stepped back from the boundary to allow the room to breath and be bathed in daylight. Timber sliding doors to the rear open the living space seamlessly to the garden, bookending it with green on both sides. Roofettes in the courtyard provide places for the owner’s cats to play.

Highlights: Achieving a complete transformation of what was a completely deteriorated and unhealthy home. Creating a place where the occupants can live effortlessly and joyfully for many years to come.

What the client loved

From the beginning I was impressed with his vision and creativity as well as being very approachable and easy to work with.┬áThe solutions he came up with ÔÇô a new internal courtyard and a spectacular roofline letting in the northern light ÔÇô were quite visionary.