The Stone House – CHROFI
The Stone House is a single storey vernacular house originally built using locally sourced materials and craftsmanship in rural northern NSW Australia. It has gone through several owners, and with it, various renovations and additions. Now its new owners want it renovated to one that offers better living arrangements for a vacation house for their growing family, but on a limited budget.
The challenge posed to the architects is how to work around the layers of changes brought about its occupation over the years. They decided to restore value with little intervention, using two design strategies; preservation and addition.
Preservation meant keeping elements of the building that can be salvaged and worth preserving. For this project, they decided to keep the stone wall as protection from the main road, the internal masonry walls that subdivided the rooms at the back of the house, the expressed timber ceiling of the entire home, and the concrete floor.
Adding extensions was more challenging because of budget limitations. The architects decided on an addition that would be singular yet multi-functional. This came in the form of a ‘breathable’ facade, which was added to the entire length of the structure. Its uses included providing support to the roof rafters that provided for an al fresco living area where the owners can enjoy the outdoors from such a vantage point. It’s screened sliding doors keep insects off the space. Retractable slatter blinds protect it from the sun as well as security during seasons when it’s not occupied.
The merger of the old and the new created a refreshing transformation to the Stone House that didn’t show the different layers of its occupation. Preserving some of its original structures kept the harmonious relationship of the house and its surroundings.
The site’s transformation and design process is documented here.