Hello budding home renovators, builders, fellow architectural voyeurs and dreamers alike,

I would have to say at the very core of Heartwood’s identity is the rough-hewn stone of the original 1867 building. This character is now been combined elegantly with the newest expressions embracing more local stone, new timberwork and expansive use of glass.

Now, anyone who knows Pauline Hurren’s work would have to say that stone is one of her favoured building materials and Heartwood is no exception. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love stone, most homes in my adult life have been stone structures. But I’m intrigued by Pauline’s total fascination with stone. So, when asked, Pauline ponders this thought for a moment.

“Well, this may sound a little esoteric, but I think there is an emotional connection to buildings built with stone. They somehow carry a great deal of meaning that’s inherent in the stone, due to stones enduring history and almost, becoming a legacy of mankind through the ages.”

“Using natural stone for our projects shows care about the environment and a conscious strive to preserve it. The value in natural stone is more than a monetary measure. It involves longevity, ease of maintenance, permanence and stability that far exceeds initial investment.”

Now that’s some statement and it sets me thinking …

Heartwood certainly has enduring legacy as an invaluable expression of early Adelaide Hill’s settlement. But with the new design concepts would Heartwood remain a legacy or indeed become a new legacy.

I understand that natural stone is highly regarded as a premier building material because it reflects unique character, stability and a touch of grandeur. Visually, I appreciate the variations in natural stone’s broad range of colour, pattern and texture, something impossible to replicate in a manufacturing process. And the extra advantage is that because it comes from the earth, from eco-friendly compositions, it is a natural, sustainable choice that responds to the Hurren desire for environmental care and sustainability.

As Heartwood’s stonemason Adrian Barensten points out, a really exceptional feature of the original stone used was that it was quarried from the actual site. 

“The stone required for the new build is a combination of stone found on site or reclaimed from the existing buildings where new openings were made. Additional stone was also sourced from a local stone quarry. This has kept this project authentic,” explains Adrian, adding ''I love stone. I love to express myself in this material!”

While modern power tools like angle grinders and compressed air-chisels are often used to save time when working with stone, at Heartwood the traditional construction techniques followed were as old as the stone itself. The basic tools for shaping and laying the stone the Artisan Stonemasons used included mallets, punch hammers, chisels, splitters and metal straight edges.

This time consuming hands-on skill, complemented by intimate knowledge of each stone and how to work and fix each one in place, produced a result that ensures the whole of the building sits comfortably in its setting.

New stonework was laid to be in keeping with the original stonework, were the stones were left rough and cut irregularly. Known as rubble masonry, the stone walling creates a striking random pattern based on their sizing. 

Aesthetics aside, and if Pauline’s penchant for stone still requires further argument, she has it.

“Considering stone’s low embodied energy, ready availability as a naturally occurring material – in our case locally – with no off-gases to impair indoor air quality, high thermal capacitance and exceptional durability for low maintenance and structural permanence, stone is my preferred material of choice.” 

So, admittedly I am an existing lover of stone – but my love sits more around the romance of the structure and the superior artistic quality that exudes from a stone home. But Pauline and Adrian have given me some substance to my dalliance. I can understand why it is popular in Pauline’s work and ideal for Heartwood.

“There is nothing really like a beautiful stone home in the Adelaide Hills,” says Ouwens Casserly Real Estate Agent Dale Gray who is closely following the progress of the Hurren Heartwood Team.

 “It will be the luckiest family that seizes this opportunity to be part of the ‘Heartwood’ story. Home to glorious sunrises, magnificent sunsets, panoramic garden views, it’s a special place to create your own cherished memories for generations to come.” 

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.