Architecture and Interiors

Nelson House

Light – like timber and brick – is a vital material within the home. When there’s too little, spaces become cold, dark and uninviting – a fate the owners of Nelson House were ready to replace. This once rundown 1980s family home, now contemporary and unfussy in feel, ached for warmth in its cold bones, space in its closed interiors and nature within arms reach.

Working within both budgetary and location-specific constraints, we set out to follow the sun. To better connect to the northerly aspect, we had to create an organised flow anchored to a more prominent entryway. Transforming the isolated living room into a master bedroom (plus ensuite) led to a new living area extension, ultimately uniting it with the dining and kitchen areas. Opening it out to the western side – the ridges of Kunanyi visible on the horizon – nestles Nelson House amidst the Eucalypts, window seats now framing spectacular views.

This is a home that marks the distinction between old and new, reinforced by a facade that wraps its way around existing brickwork, taking its cues from the roof pitch. The new spacious interiors are counterbalanced by storage spines that run throughout, touched by timber and timber products for sustainability, and to add much needed warmth. Light can now dance freely from room to room, ushering in a new chapter for the kind and patient retired couple that call Nelson House home.

Project Start: 2018

Completed: 2022

Gross Floor Area: 40m2

Architect: Rosa Douramanis at Biotope Architecture and Interiors

Photographer: Peter Mathew


The existing house lacked a sense of entry. The large windows provided views of the garden from the lounge and dining area, but the lounge room and dining areas are divided by a corridor. The lounge was rarely used as it was not connected to the kitchen and dining areas.
The dining area was enclosed from the kitchen and separated from the lounge area. The corridor and dining areas could not be closed off with the potential of being needed.
The inspiration for the façade treatment was the notion of the verandah, to create depth to the facade as well as to define the entry and deck area.
The idea behind this project was to embrace the existing house, with sustainability at the forefront of our design decisions.