With its stone walls, deep verandah with tessellated tiles and traditional garden with hedges and cottage plantings it would be easy to think you are looking at one of Adelaide’s traditional sandstone homes.
It looks lovingly preserved and looked after, as if it has stood the test of time through the past century.
But old it is not. This new home was built to fit in with the established tree-lined streetscape.
The owners, who appreciate the classic Victorian style, collaborated with Adelaide’s Heritage Building Group to build a home that would sit effortlessly amongst the existing beautiful century-old villas.
Ben and Laura’s brief to James Wagner and his team was simple: Provide a home filled with natural light that they would then fill with contemporary artwork and soft furnishings to provide a modern and contemporary feel behind the heritage frontage.
It also had to be child friendly and be able to adapt to a growing family. They share the heritage-style home with their two daughters Lilla, 3, and one-year-old Eva.
“Before deciding to build a home we were originally looking to buy an old villa to renovate, however we then found the Heritage Building Group who build beautiful, authentic replicas and decided to build from scratch instead,” Ben says. “Wanting to keep true to style, we designed and built a very classic facade keeping the front of the house true in style to a classic villa, then opening into a modern ‘extension’ for the rear of our home.”
After 18 months of hard work, the professional couple are ecstatic with the results and can envisage raising their family here for years to come.
“We purchased the land before having children,” Ben says. “We commenced the building process and then moved into our home when our eldest daughter had just turned one.”
For Laura the bright and airy open plan at the rear of the home is ideal for raising children. From the stone benchtops in the kitchen the mother of two can look across the dining and living area and through a wall of windows that allow for a welcome view on to the outside living space that is also an entertainer’s delight.
Through clever design the folding ‘wall’ of glass can be pushed back to bring the outside in, maximising the use of all living areas. The doors are one of their favourite items used in construction of the home.
“The sliding doors allow the whole space to be opened right up for a free-flowing indoor-outdoor living space,” Ben says.
Laura describes her decorating style as classic and elegant. She chose a neutral colour scheme for walls and trims and provide the ideal backdrop for a pop of colour in vibrant art works. Living room furniture was deliberately chosen to be oversized and plush to entice you to sit and enjoy the home. Hardwearing large format semi-gloss tiles were chosen for the family areas with timber floorboards adding warmth to the grand hallway befit with chandelier, partially glass ceiling and heritage archway.
Many decor items throughout the home were sourced from One Rundle Trading Co, one of the couple’s favourite stores in Dulwich, South Australia
Building from scratch did have its challenges, Ben says, however the project remained on schedule despite being “slightly over budget”.
“For a custom built home, it went mostly to plan with a couple of areas needing reviewing along the way,” he says, adding that while they both had input into the design it was Laura who managed the project build.
“Our first ‘must-have’ was an extremely functional design,” Laura says. “We also wanted a butler’s pantry which closes off from the main kitchen and living area and also the resort-style master suite.”
And it’s this grand yet soothing space with its replica Victorian look with modern amenities of ensuite bathroom and built-in wardrobes that is the ideal place for the couple to relax.
“We created a ‘sanctuary’ for ourselves, away from our busy family and lifestyle,” Laura says. “Our master bedroom overlooks and opens up onto our pool area giving a relaxing, resort feel. The luxurious ensuite with freestanding stone bath is also a plus.”
But as it is a family home, the couple say it is the large open-plan family room that is their favourite part of the house.
“Our large open plan living room is so functional,” Ben says. “We have the kitchen, meals and dining, lounge and study nook sharing this one space that overlooks the pool and backyard.
“The design allows us to spend the majority of our time in this space working, cooking and entertaining, but also keeping an eye on the children.”
The couple believe they have achieved a successful combination of old meets new that will stand the test of time along with its neighbouring heritage homes.
Build and Design: Heritage Building Group