A Legacy-Building Newcastle Terrace Renovation

The recent renovation of this circa 1885 terrace in Newcastle East was born from the client’s desire to leave a legacy for her children.

The client has owned the property for 37 years and wanted to ensure its bones would endure for many more decades.

Critical to the alterations and additions designed by Studio Dot was a rebuild of the rear two-storey wing. This area of the home was built in 1989 after the original structure was damaged in the 1989 Newcastle earthquake.

Despite being the newest element of the home, over the years, it became evident that the rebuild was of poor quality, resulting in weatherproofing and mould issues.

In rebuilding the rear section, the vision was to better connect the home to its backyard, and establish a garden and functional outdoor space.

The addition designed by Studio Dot includes a new kitchen and dining area on the ground floor, with a new bedroom/study above — both of which look out to the rear courtyard.

Additional greenery is visible via the glass kitchen roof, which offers glimpses of planting above and injects natural light into the south-facing space.

Drawing inspiration from the materiality of the building and the rich history of the area, Studio Dot used a lightweight cladding for the addition reminiscent of the weatherboard lean-tos commonly found attached to late 19th century masonry buildings.

The rebuild also utilises 10,000 bricks saved from the demolished structure — each meticulously cleaned by the client.

Director of Studio Dot Steele Olney says, ‘The client spent most of her spare time chipping away at old mortar and stacking the bricks ready to be relaid — a true commitment to sustainability and reducing waste.’

Last but not least, an outdoor storage building and bathroom was constructed at the rear of the backyard to cater for post-beach showers.

The home now spans just over 160 square metres, adding just 10 metres to its footprint, while significantly improving its performance. Once dark rooms are now filled with light, fresh air and garden views that can be viewed from both levels and appreciated by surrounding neighbours.

A mural painted on the eastern courtyard wall by the client and her son symbolises the multigenerational nature of this home.

‘The home, in its new form, hopes to serve the family through changes and generational shifts,’ says Steele.

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