Norman Park 1950's Renovation

By Dion Seminara

Norman Park

By: Dion Seminara Architecture

Norman Park Renovation by Dion Seminara Architecture

How does the project respond to its context, contribute to the public domain for example street or neighbourhood?

This 1950's home in Norman Park is close to the Brisbane River. Recent weather events in QLD demonstated that this street is at risk of flooding if there was to be an extreme weather event. This home started out as a small and dark 3 bedroom house and has been transformed into a stunning two level home that is now a feature home in the suburb.

What problems did you have to solve?

1. Raising the home so the top level would avoid a major flooding event. The home was raised 1.2 meters which gave enough height to avoid flooding and to build extra rooms downstairs.

2. The low deck ceiling height which made the inside of the home dark and the deck extremely hot during summer. A new deck was designed with a very high vaulted roof to let in the light and the breeze.

3. To keep the mango and plam trees in the yard and create a feeling of connection between the yard and the deck. Therefore the design included thicker lintels and hand rails which created a balance and a more tropical look.

4. A stairwell that felt more like a tunnel. By allowing light to come through the Alsynite, the whole area was brightened up

5. Two-street access - the street appeal needed to be considered from two angles.

What was the contribution of others, including engineers, landscape architects, artists, builders and other specialists to the outcome?

Survey was AJS surveyors. The engineer was Paul Joseph Consulting. The house was owner built by the client.

How would you describe the value of design in relation to the cost of the project?

As the house was owner built, a tremendous amount of labour was supplied at cost. So for this project the value was high and the cost was a lot lower than in a standard scenario. But it must be stated that this design and many of our other project designs are designed for our home owners who intend to reside in their homes for long periods of time. So better external materials, better windows and doors that all stand the test of time are paramount in this project as well as sensitive design to minimise the use of a/c and heating. Functionality of the home to suit the occupants lifestyle are all of extreme importance to the value of the design verses cost argument.

What are some important sustainability aspects of the project?

The deck/roof design enables natural light to brighten up the inside of the home and also allows the plentiful cool breezes in. An added benefit of the roof is that it catches rainwater. The water is directed into the swimming pool saving on water consumption.

Further natural light and ventilation is let into the home by replacing the front door with louvers.

A stepped roof also adds more natural light and breezes into the home. This reduces the need for airconditiing in summer as the heat rises and escapes naturally. 

What do you consider to be the benefits of the project for the client, users and the community?

The downsatirs area now provides extra space and blends with the outdoor and pool area for a great entertainment space that is also practical. Extra space includes an extra bedroom and rumpus room, bathroom and toilet, laundry and garage.

Swapping the living area and the bedrooms on the upstairs level enabled the bedrooms to be more private while opening up the back for entertaining.

The new flow between the deck and kitchen means that while in the kitchen you can still be part of the entertainment outside. However you can also close the doors and servery window to create a more private space.

The final home is a huge success. The home is tied together with magnificent bright and airy spaces. The overall feeling is one of comfort with plenty of room.