Opening the Old to the New – Clifton Hill House by DX Architects
Clifton Hill, VIC, Australia

Photography Tess Kelly
Architecture DX Architects
Words Bronwyn Marshall

Connecting a single-fronted cottage to an open rear living space, Clifton Hill House sees the use of high-level apertures and expansive glazing fill the interiors with natural light. DX Architects combines a restrained and fresh palette to open up the old and create a place of enduring meaning.

Sitting behind its traditionally light-deprived and formally planned single-fronted façade, Clifton Hill House warmly celebrates its transformation. A product of its time, the original home told a familiar story of a narrow allotment and severe lack of internal natural light. These narrow yet character-rich period homes and cottages speak to a time of necessity, when in glazing and structural systems were not as readily available and, as a result, each room was either light or dark, based on its location on site, rather than based on how the area was utilised. The re-planning of its parts saw Clifton Hill House injected with a new life and light.

Sitting behind its traditionally light-deprived and formally planned single-fronted façade, Clifton Hill House warmly celebrates its transformation.

Through strategic placement and carving of deliberate apertures throughout, a flood of natural light is welcomed inward, from every available angle.

The re-planning of its parts saw Clifton Hill House injected with a new life and light.

Subtle nods are integrated through the detail of the herringbone flooring as a means to fusing the old and the new, the traditional with the contemporary.

In response to its original formal planning, the home and its parts have been disassembled and reconstructed to better respond to the site and its specific conditions. Through strategic placement and carving of deliberate apertures throughout, a flood of natural light is welcomed inward, from every available angle. In particular, the expansive utilisation of glazing at the rear allows for a light living and kitchen zone, which extends effortlessly into the rear garden.

Through extending ceilings upward, a continuous approach to materiality and a minimal and refined palette the home is brightened. Warm timber elements are contrasted against a palette of black, white and grey that imbues the interior with cool neutral hues. Expressing the original features, the textured brick is showcased, with the architects opting to paint the surface instead of concealing and refinishing. A subtle nod to the home’s heritage is integrated through the detail of the herringbone flooring, which becomes a means of fusing the old and the new, the traditional with the contemporary.

Through extending ceilings upward, a continuous approach to materiality and a minimal and refined palette the home is brightened.

Clifton Hill House’s new refurbishment gently touches the traditional elements while welcoming the new. The injection of natural light through carving into the original form, and the considered addition to the rear, allow the home to be its bright and best self. DX Architects has beautifully brought the right amount of the new, and allowed the old to be celebrated, proposing a home with its own storied history and enabling it to have an enduring, prosperous present and future.

Published 9 May, 2020
Photography  Tess Kelly
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