Garrett House

2010 Wan Country / Haberfield, NSW

2011 Houses Awards – High Commendation

A key aim of this project was to respect the heritage of both the original house and the surrounding heritage subdivision of Haberfield. Our clients very much appreciated the early 20th century heritage of their house and surrounds, including later changes, and wanted the new work to contribute to that in an early 21st century way – to express how they live both in the past present and aspirations for the future. As a result the design process developed into an exploration of the ongoing conversation about the notion of heritage, its conservation, creation, and the idea that heritage, like culture, is a living thing. It has a past, present and future.

Many parts of the existing house, and the lives of its occupants, are incorporated into the new work; recycled timbers, newspaper clippings, and family stories are all woven into the furnishing and fabric of the building.

As with many of our projects we collaborated closely with our clients, a professional couple with two children, on all aspects of the design of this house, particularly in working towards a sustainable outcome – another key objective of their design brief.

Important sustainable features include an 18000L water tank; in-slab heating and domestic hot water sourced via heat from evacuated solar tubes on the roof (with instantaneous gas back-up); photovoltaic panels to offset electricity use; polished concrete floors and reverse brick veneer walls to provide thermal mass; double glazed timber framed windows and doors to minimise winter heat loss and summer heat gain; low-emissivity glazing to all eastern and western windows to minimise summer heat gain; ample cross ventilation; low energy lighting, and the use recycled timber throughout.

The new living rooms are pulled back from the existing building, separated by a central courtyard which is pivotal to the design of the house as it provides light, winter sunlight, natural ventilation and a connection to outdoors for all of the new living areas. The gable roofs, a requirement of Council’s Heritage regulations, provided an opportunity to further provide natural daylight into the living spaces via large high level gable-end windows at three room ends.

“Max temp outside: 41c. Max temp inside: 29.5c. We feel lucky to live in such a clever house – thank you!” Stephen – client (regarding ambient temperature inside the house without need for air-conditioning)




Houses Issue 79, April 2011
The Renovators, September 2011
Natural Home Volume 5, 2011

Project team

Sam Crawford, Karen Erdos, Jolyon Sykes


Structural – Simpson Design Associates, Andrew Simpson
Landscape – Melissa Wilson Landscape Architecture, Glenn Murray
Sculpture – Morgan Shimeld, sculptor
Hydraulic – Northrop
Land Surveyor – Daw & Walton
Quantity Surveyor – Donald Bayley


Tricon Constructions


Brett Boardman