WAIRANGI HOUSE

Located in the Sydney suburb of Killara, this large-scale house has been redesigned using the same generous proportions to create a stunning home that perfectly balances heritage features with a contemporary style. The front of the house retains its original facade and name – the Wairangi House – while a new portico, drive and gates in solid Sydney sandstone create a grand entrance. 

The layout of the house has been modified to encompass master bedroom with walk in wardrobe and ensuite, a large study, guest bedrooms and workshop that wrap an internal courtyard on one side, leading to the main living, dining and kitchen area at the back. Here, three interconnected spaces include a generous garden room – an indoor/outdoor space that leads directly onto the external deck.

In the garden room, the client’s desire for exposed beams has been interpreted in a series of exposed trusses that stand out in white against the red brick of the wall. Residential houses of this period (Federation, 1910s) did not originally include beams, so church architecture of the same time were used as inspiration for the design. 

The client’s personality and tastes are present throughout the house in the form of objet d’art, with original features such as the servant’s bells refurbished and hung above the stove. Other items such as the Venetian glass pendant lights in the kitchen complement existing features such as the oversized fireplace in the living room. In the backyard, a badger stone wall was built by hand, while antique water pumps and other features add character to the exteriors. 

We would highly recommend Bijl Architecture. We worked closely with Melonie and Andy, and appreciated their willingness to work with us and to agree on mutually acceptable solutions to any situation. They were able to easily communicate their creative talents and experience in a wide range of building styles and also their experience and knowledge of well-qualified builders and trades.
— Russell and Robyn, clients

Photography: Peter Bennetts