Owning a heritage property can be a fulfilling experience, however these homes don’t always adapt to modern lifestyles and need to be updated. Heritage renovations need to be sensitively planned so they blend seamlessly, add depth to the ongoing narrative and ensure the essence of the past isn’t overshadowed.
When our clients took ownership of the revered Former Salter House in Toorak, they wanted to strip back components added over the years to embody the original vision of architects Marion Mahony and Walter Burley Griffin.
In collaboration with Architect Hewson, we undertook a painstaking repair and restoration process to bring the exemplar Knitlock house into the 21st Century, supporting its heritage values while making it more liveable.
The prescience of the Griffin’s early courtyard design meant that the layout could remain unchanged, with creative solutions required for structural challenges uncovered throughout the project. Updates to the bathroom and amenities and new technology and services integrations were largely confined to the envelope of a later – non-heritage – extension.
Within the house, we installed heating, reinstated fireplaces, restored original and added new joinery and refinished the floors. An interior palate of off-white and soft greys and browns was a thoughtful update to the original interiors.
The relationship of the home to its garden setting was fundamental feature of the original design that had been lost over time. An idiosyncratic inground pool was converted into a water tank and Sam Cox’s indigenous plantings within a landscape overhaul ensured the house was once again absorbed into its landscape – a welcome return to the Griffins’ original intention.
Conservation & Renovation
We wanted an architect who could bring some modern updates without compromising the unique architectural and historical nature of the property. Jane immersed herself in the project, which became a lot more complicated than originally anticipated due to serious neglect over the years. She has proven to be a consummate professional, finding us a builder who was perfect for the job, overseeing every detail, and making sure that we are apprised of and in agreement with all the subsequent variations to the original contract. Because we wanted to move quickly, it was done on a cost plus basis, and both she and the builder were transparent and honest about costs. I have total confidence in Jane and would recommend her without hesitation.