Petersen Kolumba K71 bricks were included in the materials palette selected for the renovation of an early 20th century home in Bellevue Hill, Sydney. Combined with the masterful design by Luigi Rosselli Architects, the delightful juxtaposition of materials – both old and new – resulted in an exquisite, liveable home that could be mistaken for a completely new build.

The seamless renovation added a lower ground level and a well-disguised top floor attic to take the existing house from a two-bedroom home over two storeys to a four-bedroom residence set across four levels. What the team at Luigi Rosselli has done particularly well is tie the new building to the existing home built circa 1910-1915 while taking a contemporary approach to the architecture.

Undoubtedly, what sets this home apart is its thoughtful design by Luigi Rosselli, skilful execution of the build by Evolve Building Group, and a superb choice of building materials. More particularly, it’s the juxtaposition of those materials that delivers the stunning design outcome most clients will only dream about.

The clients wanted to retain the painted brick in the existing house. For the new addition, Luigi Rosselli chose Petersen Kolumba K71 bricks for the base, “for their long, slim profile to add to the horizontal component, which is beautiful in those bricks. And they are handmade, so they have this lovely irregularity you don’t get from industrial made bricks,” Luigi Rosselli, principal of Luigi Rosselli Architects, commented.

The light, slightly creamy Petersen Kolumba K71 bricks with a yellow tinge cleverly reference the sandstone at the front of the property while adding the light, luminous look to the house sought by the homeowner.

Additionally, the original terracotta tiles on the roof were repurposed by Luigi Rosselli’s son, Raffaello on a project in Surry Hills, and replaced with a more contemporary slate. The roof was extended in a smooth transition with the addition of a curved bay window, built-in bricks on the ground floor and finished in rough cast render above.

“When one approaches from the street, you can see that those additions have quite sharply rounded corners. The light and shade with the bricks is great, and the shadow from the eaves on the roof onto the building is quite inspiring,” Rosselli noted.

The rear of the house, backing onto the garden and pool, offers a more relaxed and less composed design. To break up the height, the architect has employed a layered approach starting with a solid base of Petersen Kolumba bricks, multiple large windows and timber-framed glass doors that open onto the terrace and garden. Three large irregular brick arches spanning from one side of the home to the other, are a spectacular inclusion accommodating the openings.

“The bricklayer had great fun following the forms of the arch and laying the bricks in concentric patterns, and adding the header course, which was one brick and a half. So, he had to be skilful in cutting the bricks. And there’s not much mortar between the bricks; that was a master work of the bricklayer. It took quite a while, but framed those openings really well,” Rosselli explained.

The first floor continues with large glass windows, taking advantage of northerly views towards the harbour, finished with timber venetians for full protection from the fiery westerly afternoon sun.

“I love the juxtaposition of materials that we have in the house, particularly in the front with the Petersen Kolumba brick and the rough cast render and slate. I also like the arches in the pool area. It’s a very liveable house; I love the textures that the Petersen bricks and the off-cast render and the old bricks next to it create, as well as the detailed timber work on the windows. All of these elements make it a beautiful collection of materials,” Rosselli added.

The clients couldn’t be happier with their new expansive home.

Photos: Luigi Rosselli Architects