A Home For Her Sister – Reed House by Beth George
Subiaco, WA. Australia
A home designed by architect Beth George for her sister, Reed House sees the additions and alterations to an existing 1900s heritage home in Perth’s Subiaco enacted as an ode to the building’s past. Referencing the nostalgia of memories shared by the sisters, the project is a considered home grounded in curated spatial sensibilities, texture and light.
Reed House sits within an immersive heritage precinct, with neighbouring properties originating within the same era build. With the original home conceived in 1908, the alterations and additions see the customisation and expansion of the original framework of the home. A residence for her sister, Beth George drew upon shared experiences and nostalgic cues. The resulting series of spaces speak to a curated understanding of spatial sensibility, and through deeply considered gestures, materiality is expressed through texture and light.
Built by Alan Pope and Associates and with landscape architecture by Banksia & Lime, Reed House brings together restraint and refinement in all of its comprising elements. Carefully restoring the home’s heritage details, the extension acts as a continuation of the connected living experience. Flanked by a tall westerly neighbour, the extension sits to the south of its original home and consequently opens up toward to the east. An imposed void cuts into the western edge, creating a courtyard which brings in much-needed solar gains as well as illumination and heating of the pool for evening swims. Referencing the original limestone foundations, a dato plinth element is expressed in the 600mm deep excavated portal between the old and the new – a gestural nod to the client’s profession as an archaeologist. This connection to the dining space as a communal and gathering space offers a signal to the extension’s purpose: to connect its inhabitants.
The relationship between the architecture and the site is established through the landscaping by Banksia & Lime, the placement of apertures and the integration of key sustainable design principles. Utilising a collection of contextually appropriate plantings, the garden elements are comprised of mostly drought tolerant and endemic native plants. The integration of the natural and built are brought together seamlessly through extending walls and cascading plantings that soften the edge between the two. Mainly built from off-form concrete and textured brick, large full-height glazing elements offer a visual relief from the more solid elements and create visual connections with the garden. Together with integrated energy supplied by solar and harvested grey water from the bathrooms, Reed Home is the result of a deep understanding of the site and its opportunities, and the close relationship between client and architect.
Reed House extends the original home, drawing on the shared past of the designer and owner, and a dedication to context and creating an appropriate response to site. The resulting home is one designed to endure, and which, through its subtleties and refinement, beautifully reflects the values of its owners.