Transformation of Old and New in Sydney Home by Christopher Polly

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This house addition, designed for Elliott Ripper by Christopher Polly, adds a significant expansion to an older home by means of a modern extension that provides more light, air, and living space with minimal disruption to the original “footprint.” First, of course, interiors of the old house had to be adapted to open to the addition; keeping a “cathedral ceiling” effect throughout became another effective way to bridge old and new. The addition, with its skylights, row of red cedar-framed windows, and open floor plan on its ground level greatly enhances the livability of the house as well as its size. The windows, pivoting as they do, allow for almost infinite variety in the amount of air allowed in — while brightening the space even when closed. The addition performs another function as well: enabling both adult and children’s “areas” in the house, plus multiple uses for common spaces.

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As Polly says, “The ground floor area provides a ‘day’ space for meals preparation, dining and expansive enjoyment of rear gardens, while the upper living room provides an ‘evening’ space for relaxation, separation from utilities, and enjoyment of district views — with an adaptable third bedroom providing flexibility for future use as a study.” In truth, the “day” space can be equally cozy in the evening, making entertaining easy with the streamlined kitchen close at hand for informal outdoor meals anytime. Finally, the rear courtyard is a nice mix of old trees, thoughtfully preserved, and a solid stone decking with additional plantings, wrapped about with sturdy privacy fencing. In the end, this house combines older structure and newer functionality with panache, in a design that will adapt to the family as it grows.

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