This 1970s Gold Coast house has been transformed from drab and dated to a comfortable contemporary family home. 


According to architect Alexandra Buchanan Architecture, the existing house was monolithic, presenting an unapologetic and dated façade to the street. It also lacked a connection to its context, as well as potential daylight, ventilation and views. 

The interior was an expansive yet confused double-storey arrangement with long, low ceilings that created an “oppressive and claustrophobic” feeling, according to the architect. 

“The project is a very unique and simple solution to a very common problem with houses of this era,” says the architect. 

“Typically we find that houses similar to this built around the 1970s have a great generosity of space yet their relationship to their context isn’t particularly well-considered. They may be sited without any great consideration for edge treatment or connection/view to the context and landscape, and they can be dark and claustrophobic internally. 

“Our main consideration in the treatment of the house was to work with the bones of the existing house rather than try to make it something that it isn’t. So the new bold exterior is intended to reimagine the equally bold, monolithic façade of the existing house to breathe new life into it.” 

One of the main challenges in this alteration project was the fact that the clients had a small budget, and needed to be able to manage the alterations and additions themselves. This meant a lot of consideration had to go into how the spatial and aesthetic concerns could be addressed, the types of materials used and what could make the most impact.