Contemporary Cosgriff House, Sydney by Christopher Polly Architect

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This expansion of an existing house by architect Christopher Polly involved adding rooms underneath it, a substantial project that used slanted ground toward the back of the property. The result, as Polly explains, is that “It extends deeply beneath the existing dwelling and outwards towards the garden to transform the original dwelling in combination with the re-crafted rear of the ground floor above.” The original house gains a multi-leveled open space that flows freely onto an outdoor area, and appears lighter than air. The beauty of this addition is that it could use so much of the existing walls, gutter work, and other myriad details — while transforming the home in the process. The new roof form, as Polly says, is “eccentric,” but it also allows for more light within and views outward from the two floors’ worth of glass.

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Some of Polly’s concerns in this expansion were “environmental and economic sustainability objectives,” which he accommodated by primarily using the house’s original “footprint” and adding only 20 square meters at the back. Amazingly enough, in the process, the rework adds a bathroom, main bedroom, and an additional bedroom that can serve double duty as a study — quite a lot for such careful restraint! Vaulted ceilings, skylights, and glowing white hanging fixtures all brighten the space; polished light wood floors echo the hue of the stairway and tie the rooms together. Finally, careful placement of windows and doors aids air circulation, and the addition of ceiling fans and roof vents prevent heat from being trapped inside the original roof. It all adds up to what Polly calls a “modestly sized lightweight addition” — but one that has gained a lot of accolades from the architectural community.

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Written by Janet Butler

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Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).