This project is informed by its current owners' passion for design, preservation of history, and the contemporary artworld. The alterations introduce a layering of other stories into the history of t...
This project is informed by its current owners' passion for design, preservation of history, and the contemporary artworld. The alterations introduce a layering of other stories into the history of this Heritage house; embracing the honesty of a modern approach to interventions, while avoiding nostalgia or imitation. 'Queen Bess Row' is a Heritage listed building, built in 1886 by architects Tappin Gilbert and Dennehy. Now three separate dwellings, this building has accommodated a Temperance Hotel and doss house in past lives. Designed with great forethought, the unusual and individual features of the house are referenced and carefully preserved.
The house spans 4 levels with two staircases; the Clients' brief included installing a lift for continued access as they age. The intrusion of the lift into the existing house allowed for a shifting of the hierarchy of rooms: the master bedroom floats up to the attic, connected to an ensuite adjacent, and via the old servants’ stair to the dressing room on the level below.
Taking cues from the existing house, every room has an identity and character: the bathrooms are located within brightly coloured panelled walls with secret doors, and include built-in window seats and carefully selected fixtures that sit comfortably alongside both the artwork and existing marble fireplaces. Face-mounted sliding doors were introduced to define private zones while retaining the fabric of the existing house ‘untouched’. Each level has different coloured doors, visible from the glass lift, to create a colour ‘memory map’ of movement through the house.
The grand front rooms are reinterpreted as combined living, entertaining and art domains, befitting the grand scale and soaring ceilings of the front of the house. In-floor and wall lights are curated to sit seamlessly alongside sculptures, art and familial objects within these spaces. The glass lift runs through the kitchen, where existing timber windows sit adjacent to black steel frames which inhabit openings where existing windows and doors have been removed.