Newcastle Herald Homes of the Hunter Feature- Eleebana Architectural Renovation/Extension

Our Eleebana project was recently showcased in Newcastle Herald’s Homes of the Hunter feature. 

This breathtaking renovation/extension was designed to breathe new life into a small dated residence that the owners had been living in for the last 12 years. Situated in the leafy lakeside suburb of Eleebana, the owners loved the location but their family had outgrown the existing space which consisted of small bedrooms and small living areas like most homes from this era.

When the owners first approached leading Newcastle architects, Craggspace, they discussed knocking down their existing garage and building a new one to fit 3-4 cars and car parts as the owner was a keen car enthusiast. It was from here that the project unfolded. In addition to the garage, after an in depth briefing session the architect identified the client’s need for a modern renovation/extension which reflected a lifestyle revolving around their love of entertaining and having ample space for the whole family. 

One of the key aspects of the project was to create additional living spaces where the family could come together and enjoy quality time but then also give them the opportunity to retreat to their own spaces as needed. It was also important for the owners to be able to have everyone over comfortably for weekly dinners and for their kids to have the space for them to invite their friends over. 

Based on these needs Craggspace designed a solution that consisted of a downstairs renovation that included an additional 2 bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, living space and new garage and a first floor addition for the main bedroom with a parents retreat, walk-in-robe and ensuite. The owners engaged Bull Building to bring their vision to life: an open-flow home with lots of natural light that embodied family living.

The layout of the existing home was cavernous and didn’t effectively utilise the existing footprint. Re-purposing of the lower level was essential to create a holistic family home that catered for the client’s daily needs which consisted of an open plan living space, new kitchen with walk in pantry, storeroom,  laundry, bathroom, bedroom with ensuite and a study/office.

The revamped entry heightens the arrival experience. The owners and visitors are greeted with an inviting entryway that was achieved by including an architectural cantilever structural steel arbor finished in HWD and lifting the entry and lower level up to create a sense of change between the garden and front walkway, adding a heightened sense of arrival when transitioning into the space, a feature the clients loved. 

The key to embedding a sense of grandeur into the home was the extended height raked ceilings over the kitchen area. Upon entry you find yourself in the inviting foyer Which leads into the open plan living, kitchen and dining. Balancing intimacy and openness, the spaces and materials used employ contrast and textural variation to offer differentiation. Although seemingly simplified when viewing the spaces, the crafted detail needed to create such a seamless transition between them all was crucial to the lower levels success. 

The kitchen, designed by Urban Joinery is a bright, spacious centre for gathering, sharing and enjoying family connection. It features Ceasarstone benchtops, large entertaining island, windowed splashback and butlers pantry that was designed with family gatherings in mind. The stunning Velux skylight in the raked ceiling draws light into the kitchen and complements the vast open plan design. The result is a clean, minimalist space that harmonises with the living and dining area that it flows into. Further into the house the open plan configuration creates an inclusive environment suitable for the family and guests to enjoy.

You are then invited up to the 2nd storey addition which features the parents master retreat with large master bedroom and sitting area, walk-in robe, ensuite and a second and third bedroom with a separate bathroom and living space. The key to the success of the upstairs addition was that it allowed for additional privacy and amenity, but also importantly capturing a higher aspect of the site and increased space for the family. 

The minimal material palette is timeless and light. The timber Havwood floors add warmth and create a sense of home whilst linking back to the other levels of the home. The skylight in the kitchen and window above the stairs create an illusion of more space and also bounces natural light deeper into the plan. This brightness is then accentuated by the clever use of space, neutral colour palette and the abundance of natural light that flows throughout the home creating a sleek, sophisticated look that creates an air of relaxation. 

Key to the project’s success is the clever way the interior rooms and spaces enjoy improved connections to one another. Particular attention has been paid to maintaining spatial diversity and creating a variety of rooms where small and large groups can come together, both inside and out. 

One of the biggest challenges of this build was the small block and ensuring that there was a seamless flow between the new and existing structures. As we needed to create a large upper level addition on top of an existing home with the incorporation of a new garage the footprint and design needed to be balanced and intelligent. We also needed to create a seamless flow between the old and new which we achieved through different variations in materials and textures to create impressive street appeal.

As part of the design we kept a lot of the existing brickwork and windows. We utilised the brickwork from where we needed to cut out windows in to fill gaps where we had to take windows out in an effort to ensure the finish was continuous. Upstairs we then used lightweight vertical board material to create a point of difference and provide a change in materiality. We also replaced the existing lean to the deck roof with a new Versiclad insulated roof. 

As the garage was so large and sat at a different level to the home we needed to ensure that balance was achieved so that it wasn’t the prominent feature. We achieved this by creating a beautiful timber front entry arbor to bring in some warmth and also add a feature point to the front of the home. Conceptually, this then allowed the two-built forms to co-exist insync. In terms of functionality the garage now also has internal access to the home, has a double width lift food and drive through access to the storage behind. 

By teaming up with Craggspace, it was truly a team effort to transform the existing poky little home with only a few bedrooms and rooms to entertain in into a larger open plan home that provides ample space for family life and entertaining. The now reimagined home amplifies a sense of purpose- to facilitate the ebbs and flows of family life.


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