Welcome budding home renovators, builders, architectural voyeurs and dreamers alike.

The Heartwood project is progressing with great intrigue. It is truly exciting as the concepts and likely designs are developed, all premised on respecting the existing dwelling and ensuring it is not overwhelmed by the planned new extension. 

Earlier, we learnt how the site has inspired the direction, now we explore the design possibilities, the wishful options and the other hard choices before Pauline Hurren, acclaimed South Australian Architect and Design Principal on Heartwood.

“From modest to modernist,” emphasises Pauline, “the rebirth honours the historic past while embracing, and preparing for, the needs of today”.

It is certainly clear that Pauline Hurren is breathing new life into the once well-loved bones. The original structure has simple origins, with a little added mystery to be sure. The very fabric of the original construct, and its state of preservation, indicate it has been home for many families, some important, a few prominent and all of them loving. Crafted in 1867, in the then emerging Adelaide Hills village of Stirling it is also rumoured to at one time be one of the very earliest ‘unlicensed premises’ - better known colloquially as a ‘sly grog shop’.

So, I think we can safely say it is a tiersmans cottage and probably the first Stirling Inn albeit unlicensed.

Now, 150 years later, a new vision inculcated within the design concepts sees the two stone parallel huts structurally unaltered, maintaining the original fabric of the building.

A century old oak tree now towers over the new footprint in a protective embrace. No doubt the first resident family planted it as little more than a sprouting acorn. Most likely, its arboreal ‘cousins’ now line the iconic Druid Avenue in nearby Stirling. 

Looking over the design concepts with Pauline, it is quite clearly not an over exuberant expression in design nor construct. There is restraint, detailed thought and imaginative re-adaptation. Let me paint a word picture worthy of the drawings – this new built-form expression is destined for idyllic 21st century living, with the design intent ingeniously re-working the spaces to deliver an amazing lifestyle for a new family.

The original dwelling is to be sympathetically restored and imaginatively expanded.

Existing detailing is being adapted for reuse and window and door sizes are proportionally in keeping. Construction materials are being selected to be compatible with the existing to ensure a cohesive whole to the finished home. A generous glass roofed conservatory links the old with the new maintaining separation yet combining the spaces in charming unity. All very "Hurren".

The future form carefully retains the original charm of this property, with its rambling gardens and naturalistic swimming pool.   Also being touched by Pauline’ imagination are the outbuildings, now envisioned as outdoor pavilions with incredible multi-use rooms.   

Pauline is renowned for her work in historic adaptive re-use designs, are moving this project from a straightforward renovation to a higher level where design respects the existing building fabric and seeks to reuse, adapt and find balance between contemporary needs and conservation values. (Take a look at www.hurrenarchitects.com.au for a small insight into Pauline's existing work.)

Already, I feel the wind of excitement rustle in the concept sketches as I appreciate the intent and feel the drive of exceptional design.

 “This is a piece of Australian history,” says Dale Gray our Adelaide Hill's property specialist with Ouwens Casserly Real Estate.

“It is an Adelaide Hill's treasure on a simply captivating parcel of land in an amazing location in easy walking distance from the Stirling main street. Peaceful and quiet yet with quick easy access to main roads - you can be in Adelaide CDB in less than 20 minutes. Understanding the noticeably inspiring design vision and the craftsman’s care that will follow, this property will once again be appreciated as a timeless classic. It truly will be a marvellous home for today.”



Heartwood | Built 1867  | Reborn 2016  | A celebration of 150 years.

Follow this journey from creative design to active construction as I talk with Pauline Hurren, Principal Architect on Heartwood in each of the next phases of this small piece of early settlement history in one of Adelaide's most sought-after residential areas and prettiest towns in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia.