Careful considered contemporary addition to historic Cranford
WHILE some older properties are “dragged” into the 21st century, this Sandy Bay home was carefully propelled from the old world into the new.
The house is known historically as Cranford but for its alteration project was dubbed Trapper + Burt’s after the homeowners’ friendly dogs.
This outstanding 1915 property now has an equally impressive modern addition in its north-facing rear yard.
The work by Hobart-based architects 1+2 Architecture saw them — directors Mike Verdouw, Cath Hall and Fred Ward — short-listed for this year’s Tasmanian Architecture Awards and for the Houses magazine awards, too.
Cath said the project began with the removal of an existing two-storey veranda located at the back of this Federation Arts and Crafts house.
She said the owners had recognised there was an opportunity to open it up and add new contemporary spaces.
“Older houses are beautiful to look at but they are not always beautiful to live in,” she said.
“They can be dark, cold, they often face the wrong way or are compartmentalised into little rooms.
“The brief was to provide a new living space and a new master suite on the upper level where you can take advantage of the views toward Mt Wellington, Battery Point and St Georges Terrace.”
Fred said although only remnants of the original veranda remained, one of the first things they did was have a discussion with the Heritage Council about the value of those fragments.
“Part of the process for this project was to pare it back and simplify the design directly in response to what the authorities would permit,” he said.
While the original house is very beautiful with its stained glass and timber features, it was built in a different time, with different priorities and from heavy materials like brick and stucco, with small windows.
Cath said one of their aims was to design a contemporary extension that was “crafted” like the original home, but crafted in a 21st century fashion.
She said the owners are builders, 2H Pty Ltd, and the architects wanted their client to be able to “build with that same level of craftsmanship but in carpentry not masonry and stucco”.
Fred said the owners wanted their home to be a showcase for their skills.
“They wanted to show the great workmanship that they are capable of,” he said.
“The owners are a husband and wife team. He is a skilled carpenter, really clever. And they both have a really good eye for detail, interior design and design sensibility.”
Fred said with heritage buildings there was always a discussion around how to add something contemporary to an old building in a way that it won’t detract from the heritage values of the original building.
“The authorities say that there should be clarity between the old and new, and that the new work can be done in a way that is complimentary to the original building,” he said.
Scale is often among the first things that springs to mind and on this front and at Trapper + Burt’s the new addition was kept lower and narrower than the original house so that it would not interfere with the streetscape.
Fred said the way the old and new connect was another example of the respect paid to Cranford.
“We wouldn’t want the new bit to slam into the old and make a clumsy connection,” he said.
“Instead there is a glass seam — if you like — that runs up the facade, through the roof and down the other side.
“A transparent connection between the old and new was a nice, soft way to bring these two things together.”
On the upper level, the master bedroom appears to be a floating timber box. Cath said the timber of the box wraps around and becomes the ceiling inside the kitchen and living room below. The extension is primarily glass, light filled and spacious, with the kitchen and sitting room open to the deck.
A European material called Dekton was used outdoors and for the kitchen benchtop. Another impressive detail is the timber impression in the concrete.
Upstairs, Cath said a window in the master had been “carved away” to reveal an exact view of the mountain.
“When friends came to see the home for the first time they ended up staying in this room because it is such a wonderful space with the views and the terrace,” she said.
“That mountain view is one of the home’s big moments,” Fred added.
Trapper + Burt’s was short-listed in the Residential — Alterations or Additions category of the Tasmanian Architecture Awards. The awards will be presented by the Tasmanian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects on July 6.