Project Sketches & Modelling


“Now that we have had a full year with the completed and substantial renovations I would like you to know how pleased we were with your firm’s involvement in the project. We were impressed with your very professional approach at the outset and with the care that was taken to make sure you understood what we were seeking to achieve both in general terms and as to the many details involved. Your firm did things in a timely manner and kept us informed as to progress of the design. We were please with the final design, grateful for your guidance during the building process and were left feeling that we received good value for your fees.I will be delighted to recommend your firm to anyone embarking on a similar building project.”

Peter Bobeff

Bobeff Renovations

The design was a collaboration between Architect and Builder.

Geelong, Victoria.

The existing two-storey circa 1980s residence was situated on a relatively flat site within close walking distance to the Point Lonsdale shopping strip and beachfront. It represented a traditional modernist design, with simple volumetric forms and very limited palette of external materials including natural untreated cedar shiplap cladding, white powder-coated aluminium extruded windows and galvanised steel roofing, balustrades and detailing.

The cladding was in extremely poor condition, due to the severe coastal weather. The cedar cladding had lost its natural ‘orange-red’ colour and had become silver-grey and black from rot. In some areas of the house, the cladding had completely failed and become separated from the actual building structure. The building also demonstrated a number of construction failures which needed to be rectified, such as out-of-square walls and floors, rotting decking, leaking roofs and general wear and tear.

Despite the use of blonde hardwood flooring and off-white paints on the walls and ceilings, the interior of the house was relatively dark, enclosed and compartmentalised. The main living areas including the east-facing outdoor deck area ‘felt’ completely disconnected and impractical to use. An oversized open-tread steel and timber staircase encroached into the living room creating a large unusable void space directly below it. The compartmentalisation of rooms made it very difficult to naturally ventilate the house via prevailing coastal breezes. The majority of downstairs windows faced south and east on to the deck area. As a result, in the afternoon when the sun was further in the west, the house was extremely dark and the owners heavily relied on artificial lighting.

The surrounding landscape had become overgrown in some areas, further restricting the amount of light that entered into the house. In other areas, there was no landscaping at all, which made the site look barren and disused.

The house in summary was in extremely poor structural condition, dark and compartmentalised, uninviting and impractical to be in.

(Refer to sketches and images included with this project description.)

The main design intentions included the following:

  • To reduce the compartmentalisation of spaces and create a much more simple, open-plan effect, where rooms overflow seamlessly into one another.
  • Create a direct, weather-proof link from the existing garage, into the main residence.
  • Increase the amount of natural daylight into the ground floor living spaces.
  • Replace the failing cedar shiplap cladding with a new, low-maintenance equivalent material.
  • Maintain a simple, uniform appearance throughout the house by using a very limited palette of carefully selected materials and finishes. These include Weathertex Panelcladding (which looks like timber panelised cladding boards, but actually comes in sheets and when painted is extremely durable and low-maintenance in comparison to cedar), panelised CSR compressed fibre cement sheet cladding with expressed joints, Colorbond corrugated steel wall cladding, white powder-coated aluminium extruded windows (to match existing), natural hardwood timber decking and fencing. Internally, natural hardwood timber floors (to match existing), off-white walls and ceilings with complimentary stone benchtops, ceramic wall tiles, recessed low-voltage downlights, brushed stainless steel handles, fittings and fixtures.
  • Incorporate an additional Bunk Bedroom upstairs.
  • Convert an existing upstairs bedroom into a formal guest bedroom which can also be used as games and entertainment room.
  • Incorporate ecologically sustainable design principles, such as passive heating through the ingress of natural sunlight at the correct times of the year, supplemented by energy-efficient hydronic heating panels strategically located throughout the house, passive cooling via natural cross-ventilation of prevailing coastal breezes through the building, energy-efficient lighting solutions, strategically located ceiling fans to move air through the house, 5-Star energy-efficient appliances, recycled cladding materials and drought-tolerant landscaping.
    (Refer to sketches and images included with this project description).

The gardens were entirely redesigned, incorporating a feature hardwood timber post fence with generous spacings to allow limited views through to the main building, without compromising safety and security. A low-maintenance schedule of native drought-tolerant plants and shrubs were extensively planted throughout the front garden and immediately in front of the site. A new driveway and path to the front gate were also included, providing a simple legible threshold into the site.

The external building renovations included the careful removal of all the cedar shiplap cladding, replacing it with a far more practical and durable equivalent product called Weathertex Panelgroove. The product still looked like a traditional lining board, but actually installed in panels not individual lining boards, making the quick and easy and when painted is almost twice as durable as cedar and approximately three-quarters the cost. The main street-facing façade was carefully and deliberately designed to enhance the existing modern look and feel of the building with a sophisticated composition of very specific building shapes, forms and materials. In particular, the main façade wall which comprised of express jointed, compressed CSR fibre-cement sheeting was painted in an abstract composition of coastal colours and mid-tones, punctuated by modular sized white powder-coated aluminium windows, including a tall, narrowly vaulted window extending well above the main building envelope and a large floor-to-ceiling corridor window fitted with privacy louvres. Set-back directly behind this main facade, a ‘blade wall’ clad with corrugated Colorbond steel sheeting and a further array of powder-coated aluminium windows.

The internal renovations successfully converted the compartmentalised ground floor spaces into a large, open-plan living design; kitchen, meals, formal dining and lounge room. An efficient link between the existing garage and main residence was designed, which also incorporated the laundry and powder room. The existing stairs were removed and replaced with a more compacted fully-enclosed staircase on the opposite side of the building, which incorporated ample storage directly underneath. The tall, narrowly vaulted north-facing window which features strongly in the street-facing façade, was deliberated designed over the staircase, together with the use of frameless glass balustrades, to creates a dynamic eye-catching light-well down into the formal dining area. The renovations feature off-white walls, blonde-coloured Australian hardwood flooring to match the existing internal finishes. However, a number of new yet complementary materials and finishes where used, including stone benchtops, highly durable laminated joinery units, ceramic tiled splashbacks and brushed aluminium hardware, fittings, fixtures and kitchen appliances. A greater emphasis was placed on natural daylighting to the entire ground floor, by removing as many internal walls as possible and the generous introduction of several strategically located windows on the north and west sides of the building. The entire ground floor lighting systems were redesigned using zoned-switching and energy-efficient, low-voltage recessed ceiling lights. Two ceiling fans were also fitted to help augment the natural movement of prevailing sea breezes that enter the building via the courtyard (on the east side of the building).

In summary the renovations enhanced the existing modern look and feel into a sophisticate and stylistic 21st Century home. The modern and interpretative use of contemporary materials and finishes, open-plan living design, native landscaping and ecologically sustainable design principles.

(Refer to sketches and images included with this project description.)


Written by Rebecca Gleghorn