From the architects:
Our friend Hoa took a huge risk and bought the oldest building she could find. The 150-year-old King Arms Hotel on Queensbury Street didn’t have a straight bone in it. After many design iterations, curved walls allowed the plan to divide the small and awkward existing title.
As the curves were the key when dividing the space, we found that it also connected perfectly to the existing archway that once connected the old pub to the boarding house. We wanted to create a sense of height adding a third hidden bedroom into the existing rood space of the old pub. By removing the ceiling lining and structure from upstairs, this allowed us to create a whole new level and space, whilst making a double height space that connects the upper level to the open mezzanine.
Due to the nature of the old building, the builder was reluctant to sign a fixed contract. The chosen contract enabled us to work with the builder hands on and complete some of the work onsite ourselves. As hard as it was, it was the experimenting with materials and colours and learning through building that was most enjoyable. By being onsite so much, we were able to discover and create many unexpected moments from a pull-out kitchen island bench to a hidden mezzanine reading area.
Once we started ripping off the existing clinical office interior, we found many relics onsite by being so involved in the demolition process; from old candle holders to massive bluestone lintels, old bricks and cracking hardened plaster to the Oregon rafters and gable roof. The building gave as the chance to revive parts of the old pub that has been sadly covered up. The clients taste for a different colour and texture palette forced us to break out and come up with something very unusual.
The new materials chosen for the space were very tactile, from the seagrass-lined ceiling and floors upstairs, to the curved blackbutt panels, to the large velvet curtain that can close off the living area, which spoke to the roughness and textures of the existing walls.
We used the small space to our advantage to create warmer, cozier living space while using colours of the Autralian bush to transform the sterile office space into an exciting and unique place to be in. We also used materials and colours as a tool to define the spaces within the house, which allowed us to keep the small space as open as possible, while providing separate living and dining areas.
The design worked in conjunction with the client’s collection of mid-century furniture and personal relics by creating many small nooks and hidden spaces for them to be exhibited and stored. We tried to bring a sense of warmth and playfulness to the project, that was also able to reflect the personality of the client.