A small footprint housing an open plan living space can be challenging to avoid cramped functions. Our clients wanted to live, cook, gather, and lounge, read and socialise in one sunny externally connected space. 

In order to give the functions definition, ceiling volumes and textures were utilized to create zones. A double-height void space connects the landscaped spaces to the east and west both visually and physically, and a balcony area becomes a part of the space to read or converse. 

The scale of the void is grand as the original heritage-listed part of the house at the front. But unlike its Victorian, heavy dark street address the extension is a light, bright breathing space of calm.

Lantern house extension is passively cooled in summer with the use of openable skylights, fans and louvred windows on the ground floor. 

The extension has been designed to play with light, it allows the space to bathe in it, or retreat from it through the remotely controlled blinds on the upper-level expanses of glass. 

The project incorporates a large water bladder under the front verandah to water the gardens and solar panels on the roof for energy.

The house has a sunny fa├žade and has cross ventilation, with a rain water tank, solar panels lining the roof and a vast array of alternating side windows, spanning the roof down to its floors, this extension has its name due  to its airy features, and most notably, the light that resonates throughout the building. 

A shell has been formed with Matte white Colorbond cladding on a lightweight timber structure to protect the honey-coloured timber interior linings, windows and doors from the weather. 

The house is a series of choreographed spaces with views to the outside from every angle. The sense of calm, like being at a day spa. It feels soft, it feels light and unfussy. The main living and kitchen now feel part of the whole site and will evolve and change with seasons as the garden grows.

Originally built in 1876, Lantern House formerly had a dark and poky interior that meant its owners — a young couple with three children and a dog — were longing for a home with an open-plan layout. 

A low-ceilinged extension that had been added to the property in the 1980s was also providing redundant. 

“Our clients wanted to live, cook, gather, lounge, read and socialise in one sunny, externally connected space,” said Timmins + Whyte Architects, which was tasked with expanding the home.

After demolishing the existing extension, the practice created a contemporary double-height addition that’s clad entirely in white steel beams.