my little red house

Through a process of removal, restoration, adaptation and addition, this 1931 small Arts & Crafts style house, is coaxed into a contemporary version of its former self.

1960’s and 70’s additions and modifications to the house were removed – an olive green bathroom on the back stoep, glass louvres and Trellis doors enclosing the verandah, Harvey Tiles and other such additions.

By demolishing some internal walls, the original scullery/kitchen/passage is adapted to create a large central open-plan kitchen with fireplace, the heart-of-the-home. The surrounding individual cellular bedrooms, dining and lounge are retained.

Red face brick, fireplaces, pressed steel ceilings were restored – including a complete new steel ceiling to the central kitchen.

A faceted, pitched ‘red box’ was added, filling in the ‘missing’ part on south-east corner of the original plan. The external face brick and stained glass windows are incorporated on the inside of the room. The ‘box’ is clad in red corrugated iron sheeting, taking its cues from the existing roof forms and materials, but simultaneously retaining its clarity as a new form. Also a cellular space off the central area, this room forms a new family room with direct access to the now extended patio.

The fibre-cement shower room addition to the outbuildings as well as two internal walls was removed to create a clean shell. This shell is painted red, signifying it as historic fabric, the existing openings in-filled with fixed glass panels and solid outbuilding-style doors – also painted red. A timber portal frame encapsulates the outbuildings creating a barn-like structure. This framed structure is clad with pine plywood and translucent sheeting on the outside and plaster board on the inside. The new materials are clearly different to the existing but the form and rhythm references the historic fabric.

A light-filled courtyard, visually linking the house and outbuilding, is covered by translucent sheeting on closely spaced pine purlins.

Materials, colour and scale have been carefully considered to retain the human, feminine charm and quality of the original house. Because the land falls to the south, the apex of the roof of the new two-storey structure is only marginally higher than the existing house.

The garden is tendered with the same care, colours and plant massing referencing such gardeners such as Gertrude Jeckyll.