“The complications of a compact block and desire to avoid triggering the requirement for a Planning Permit, led us to AMG Architects. From the first meeting Raj understood our vision, and designed a home that ticked all the boxes – maximised building size whilst remaining single-story, efficient use of site, façade which supported/reflected existing street amenity, and splashes of architectural features whilst remaining firmly a modern family home. Raj’s grasp of the finer details was exceptional, and the vision we saw on paper was delivered without compromise or exception.”

– Tarnya Lynch

Harris House

Geelong Project

The design was a very close collaboration between AMG Architects and husband and wife team, Jamie and Tarnya Lynch of Jamie Lynch Builders (one of Geelong’s most awarded reputable builders, who specialises in these types of ‘heritage-style house projects.’)

Jamie Lynch Builders can be found on Instagram & LinkedIn

Brief: The clients purchased this site and the derelict house from the original owner “Mr. Harris”, with a ‘handshake agreement’ and one important condition: “if they demolished the original house, the new house and surrounding landscaping would remain in keeping with the prevailing heritage-style neighbourhood.”

Key design features:

  • From outside, facing the street, the house appears more like a renovation of an existing circa 1900’s house than a completely new 21st Century equivalent. This is due to the architect’s and builder’s meticulous attention to detail, recreating extremely convincing architectural elements that define this style of house; the proportions and scale of the house and its feature gabled-ended roofs, veranda, windows and doors, the choice of traditional materials, colours and finishes, even the intricately detailed front fence and entry gate.
  • Inside, the builder was able to recreate the luxurious high ceilings complete with wainscoting dado walls, elaborate cornices, mouldings and heritage detailing.
  • The builder was able to painstakingly restore and re-use the original Baltic timber flooring. When you walk in through the front door, these floor boards running longitudinally along the central corridor, draw your eye all the way down to the living spaces at the rear of the house.
  • At the rear of the house, we created a more contemporary New York Apartment industrial-style open-plan living area which featured tall raking ceilings with exposed trusses, feature red pressed brick walls (reusing old Geelong Red pressed bricks), a classic Cheminees Philippe free-standing cast-iron fire-place and large expanses of steel framed multi-panelled windows and doors, which allow daylight to flood into this space.
  • Beyond is an Alfresco deck area that helps to further blur the lines between inside and outside.
  • A modest sized plunge pool and contemporary landscaping creating a ‘soft’ transition between the house and rear detached garage structure.

Some of the key design decisions included:

  • Creating a heritage-style house to suit the area.
  • Maximising the available living space on a long and narrow site, to accommodate a 4-Bedroom house and on-site secure parking (accessed via the rear laneway).
  • Ensuring adequate natural light and ventilation to all areas of the house, including the central corridor.
  • Open-plan living area and direct link through to the outdoor entertainment spaces; alfresco, pool and rear gardens.

Ecologically sustainable design principles used:

  • 6-Star Energy Rating. (i.e. Minimal draughts and energy transference through the building fabric due to meticulous building methodologies and techniques combined with extensive use of natural wool insulation in walls, ceilings and roof and double-glazed windows with high performance energy films).
  • Recycled Baltic pine timber floor boards.
  • Recycled Geelong Red pressed bricks.
  • Strategic location of windows to capture natural sunlight and prevailing breezes to help light and ventilate the house, respectively.
  • Energy efficient appliances.

Project Time Frame

  • 6 months design and documentation (design and building drawings)
  • 12 months construction.
  • 3 months landscaping and final fit-out (hard and soft furnishings).

Project Budget

  • $900,000

This project enabled AMG Architects to closely collaborate with the owners, who happen to be extremely talented and capable builders, in developing an elegant, sophisticated and highly-detailed heritage-style house, complete with all of the conveniences of modern, inner-city living, which honoured the original ‘handshake agreement’ made with the previous owner.


Written by Bec Gleghorn