Gerry and Terry didn’t ignore history. And, happily, they didn’t repeat it.
Price guide*: $35K - $45KSpecifications
Carcase/Internals: 16mm Melamine high moisture resistant interiors and shelving in White by THE LAMINEX GROUP Door/Drawer: 21mm Solid wormy chesnut oven block and drawer fronts in Satin clear by Wood ‘n’ Doors Door/Drawer: Profile Casino by SpaceCraft in Formica Iron Ore Satin 2Pac Satin by Redwood Furniture Polishing Other: Wormy chestnut open cabinets with partitions for chopping boards in Satin clear by Wood ‘n’ Doors Panels: Wilsonart black traceless back panels and return by STEEDFORM Feature: Rangehood block extended to ceiling in Wilsonart Black by STEEDFORM Other: 40mm solid wormy chesnut floating shelf to rangehood Drawer Runners/Sides: Intivo Blumotion soft close drawers in White by WILSON & BRADLEY Top: 20mm Caesarstone benchtops in Frozen Terra by IDEAL STONE Top: Rear benchtop tiled by Sam Rodgers Kickers: Formica Iron Ore Satin 2Pac Satin by Redwood Furniture Polishing Hardware/Wireware: BLUM Stainless steel cutlery inserts in Stainless steel by Wilson & Bradley Hinges: BLUM Soft close by Wilson & Bradley Waste Management: WBPB6072 4 liner bin, door mounted with soft close features by Wilson & Bradley Handles: 138mm Storm handle HSQ097-MBK-128 in Matt black by LEK Oven: 60cm 9 function Optisight Pyrolytic Oven BP501310AM 594×594 by AEG Steam Oven: 60cm 24 function Navisight ProCombi Steam Oven BS9314001M 594×594 by AEG Cooktop: 90cm 5 Burner Stainless Steel Gas Cooktop HG90FXA by AEG Rangehood: 77cm High performance integrated Rangehood DL8590-M by AEG Dishwasher: 60cm Stainless steel built-under dishwasher by AEG Sink: Left hand drainer in Stainless Steel EPOS EOX 251/HW LHD with a bowl and a half by FRANKE Tapware: Mixer tap SS2515 by OLIVERI Splashback: Splashback: Tile from The Brique collection by Ceramica Tile + Design with tiling by Sam Rodgers Lighting: LED Warm white strip lighting to floating shelf by HETTICH
*Price guide includes: cabinetry, tops and splash backs. Exclusions: appliances, electrical, and plumbing
...to transform one of Strathalbyn’s most iconic villas with a discrete and unapologetically modern extension...
It’s said that those who ignore history are forced to repeat it. Look at fashion, after all. But, it seems, in renovation, it’s those who pay most attention to the history of their building, who are most likely to repeat it, scrupulously. And that can lead to a kind of all-encompassing reproduction that can end up, frankly, feeling somewhat contrived.
So, imagine our delight to work with a couple and their building designer, whose confidence and imagination have transformed one of Strathalbyn’s most iconic villas with a discrete and unapologetically modern extension that pays respect to the original front section of the house without duplicating or dominating it.
In 1881, a Scotsman named Robert Johnston bought the Angas Mill in Strathalbyn. Obviously, this was a canny business move because in 1909, he was able to build a splendid villa on a magnificent block in our town of 2,000 square metres for the significant sum of 400 pounds.
This gracious abode was the treasured home to three Johnston generations. The last of the family to live there was Ian, who became our local postmaster and whom we all knew as Johno. After Johno finally passed away, it languished for a while until a pair of South Australians returned from Melbourne in 2016 for a tree-change and fell in love with the old girl.
Gerry used to be in executive administration and marketing but now works part-time for Elders. Her husband, Terry, has retired from IT to perform a labour of love part-time in the vineyards at Langhorne Creek. G&T – as they’re inevitably known to friends – loved the bones of the old home, but planned to renovate and extend out back.
To help them realise their dream, they needed look no further than over the fence to their neighbour, Gaetane Zufferey, whose building design business is called Tailored Form. Their brief to her was to provide a modernised living and dining space, new kitchen, walk-in pantry, laundry, ensuite, bathroom and carport. In other words, no small task.
But they also wanted something ‘really different’. So, perhaps, it’s not surprising that for the kitchen section, G&T turned to another neighbor: us. And that led to a funny little scene.
Whilst checking out the options at a tile showroom in Adelaide, they happened to mention they wanted to build something unique. Straight away, the owner said, ‘Oh, you’ll have to go to SpaceCraft then, because that’s what they’re renowned for’. Little did she know G&T had already engaged us, and they couldn’t wait to tell us about the unprompted reference. (Thanks, Sally!)
The big challenge for Gaetane was that the new spaces at the back needed to connect to the garden, with warmth and light. Being an old villa, of course, the original structure was quite dark. On top of that, G&T were keen to retain the originality of the old section, but not be restrained by that in the new section.
So: how to marry the old and the new sympathetically? How to celebrate the history without being trapped in it? And how would that play out for us in the kitchen section?
...to meld a modern/ industrial-style with some shaker influence, giving a nod to the historic roots of the old building...
For Gaetane, the solution was to keep the old and new sections separated by a partially glazed link, which is a natural extension of the existing grand corridor of the old house. So, the spine of the home draws you to the extension, which then opens to the rear garden and a perfect northern aspect.
Having the extension separate from the existing house allowed it to be open and modern, so the builders didn’t have to chop into the historic building or damage its fabric and integrity. And here’s a shameless plug for Smith Builders (also Strath locals) for the fabulous job they did bringing Gaetane’s design to life.
The concept, therefore, allowed the original house’s darker, quieter and calmer spaces to be used for sleeping, study and lounge rooms. The new contemporary extension, on the other hand, exuberantly lent itself to the open-plan kitchen and dining with walk-in pantry, leading through to the laundry and carport.
The ‘black box’ extension uses modern materials juxtaposed with the existing stone and brick: old and new stand together with their individual strengths.
The southern spine of the open-plan kitchen and dining is a recycled red-brick wall, which creates a strong link to the quoining of the original house and provides texture and warmth. In addition, it provides thermal mass, when heated by the winter sun through the northern windows and skylight. And this is the magical space Nathan got to play with. Gerry wanted him to meld modern/ industrial-style with some shaker influence, giving a nod to the historic roots of the old building. The colour palette had to work with a burnished concrete floor, that red-brick wall, and the black exterior cladding and windows/ door frames.
Placing a walk-in butler’s pantry adjacent to the kitchen allowed Nathan to keep the part that’s permanently on show minimal and uncluttered, totally at one with the architecture of the rear extension.
The focal point in this space is the black, ‘traceless’ island back panels and rangehood block. If you haven’t discovered the traceless finish yet, you must: its tactile, suede-like texture stops fingerprints from daily use spoiling the look of dark colours.
Cleverly, Gerry chose Caesarstone Frozen Terra for the island benchtop because of its small black fleck. But then she doubled-down on the black with the beautiful feature tiles. The shaker influence was reflected in the doors, which were given a warm-grey two-pack finish (Formica Iron Ore).
And do you detect a hint of wormy chestnut? Yes, indeed. Our love affair continues with this glorious timber, with its magical grain, texture and warmth. Nathan used it in block format for the oven tower, as well as for a floating shelf under the rangehood and a detail on the island-leg frame.
Both Gerry and Terry were very involved in the process of building their home, even doing all the painting inside and out themselves. As ‘artistic director’, Gerry has really put her heart and soul into the project and we applaud the amazing job she did to pull it all together.
Not only is the end result a design that manages to combine the old and new serenely, effortlessly and without excessive embellishment. The room functions perfectly, with G&T able to prepare dinner whilst friends sit and chat over a glass of wine. Or, should that be, a G&T?