Renovating traditional Adelaide properties requires an appreciation for how the old and the new can work together, writes Outset Design Principal, Kevin Nicolle.
Since Outset Design was founded way back in 1991 there has been a significant yet gradual shift within the profession regarding the incorporation of the old and the new. Both designers and clients have pushed the boundaries in attempting to merge these two oppositional styles of architecture and the result is beautiful contemporary design.
In the 1980’s and 90’s there was a strong movement towards the appreciation of old Victorian houses, we were often called on to re-create the aesthetic of bygone eras. We would mimic the characteristics of design throughout our work, right down to the cornices and architraves to the stone-work and windows. This style delivered a beautiful end result, which would remain timeless.
Nevertheless, as we begun to push our designs into more creative territory in the 1990’s there was a noticeable shift in appreciation for modern spaces. We started simplifying the forms, losing the ornamentation as the era went on, following the fashion. Room sizes and styles remained much the same but suddenly new finishes, clean lines, and modern joinery options were heavily influencing our designs as clients sought something different and modern.
A new appreciation for blending the old and the new had emerged and the opportunity to live simultaneously in a traditional Victorian villa and a contemporary home had arrived.
Sustainability also had a role to play in the development of new aesthetics. As environmental sustainability began to arise as a prominent issue, the government introduced legislation that required all new houses and extensions to meet a certain energy efficiency rating. One result of this was to increase the size of eaves to reduce direct sunlight on buildings. As villas always had small eaves, people started to look for new and intuitive designs that were both sustainable and beautiful. Outdoor living was born.
As time has worn on we are now in the perfect position to blend sustainability, modern design techniques, functional finishes and traditional Victorian beauty. There is something truly special about a home that is able to cross over the time divide and incorporate all of these elements. The end result is a home that benefits from the best parts of each.
By Kevin Nicolle, Principal, Outset Design