Rob Kennon Architects

03 9015 8621

Sumner House


Northcote, VIC

153 sqm

The site for this project is an east-facing block in the Sumner Estate, a 1920s subdivision in Northcote, predominantly an area of Californian bungalows. Having been significantly altered from its original design, the existing building was in poor condition. Rather than attempt to simply restore the unknown heritage detail we sought to improve the aesthetic, functional and thermal characteristics of the dwelling.

We replaced the existing asbestos lean-to, which had no connection to the rear garden, with an open, sun-filled contemporary addition, linked to the existing structure via a lowered ceiling section housing the family bathroom and laundry. The addition opens to a skillion-roofed living and dining space with north-facing clerestory windows. The kitchen, adjacent to the dining area, again adopts the lowered ceiling, and has a direct connection to an outdoor deck via a servery window. Ply panelling at a constant datum links each new living space and accentuates the spatial shifts above. Two contemporary bathrooms gain personality through the use of bold colour, while natural joinery throughout brings warmth.

As was achieved in Batten & Board House, a radially sawn batten-and-board cladding system reinforces the robust approach to design. Aside the sustainable shell, we introduced many environmental design principles into the design, including rainwater tanks, solar hot water, provisions for photovoltaic solar power, thermal mass in the insulated waffle pod concrete slab, and eaves to protect the building from summer sun but promote the ingress of solar warmth in winter.