Welcome budding home renovators, builders, fellow architectural voyeurs and dreamers alike. The Heartwood project is abuzz with activity.

Over a career, some architects gain a reputation for designing in a particular style or by frequent use of an architectural element. In our last blog, we learned of Pauline Hurren’s love of stone – today we look at another ‘Hurrenism’ – the Conservatory. 

After designing hundreds of conservatories over the years, in many different shapes and sizes, it comes as no shock that Heartwood would also be blessed with Hurren signature Conservatory.

Conservatories popped up in the 16th Century as a way of wealthy landowners cultivate citrus – hence the other term for a Conservatory, Orangery. Pauline’s use of Conservatories in her designs is more akin to spaces that embrace the nature outside and make the most of the natural light and sunshine.

For Heartwood, the Conservatory is literally the heart of the home. It is centrally located in the footprint, nestled under the immense oak tree, with views to one side of the terraced gardens and on the other, across the pool and gardens to the private valley beyond. 

And, the warmth of the surrounding stone used in the buildings and landscaping visually echoes the underfloor heating for the winter chills.

Now, as the on site work progresses, you start to appreciate the restraint, detailed thought and imaginative re-adaptation of the original spaces. And as the new built form comes to life, I can see that it will sit well alongside the earlier buildings and integrate and unite all the new-use spaces being created. The glass and timber Conservatory seamlessly brings the old and the new together. Genius.

Pauline explains that a conservatory is a wonderful addition to a home.


“It’s quite a different type of room as it is primarily built with glass walls and roof panels creating a light filled space that connects with the outdoors almost in a 360 degree manner. Here I am visualising a generous glass roofed conservatory to link the old with the new, maintaining separation yet combining the spaces in a charming unity.”

And charming it will be. Let me paint a word picture – 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.

Importantly, this light-touch sensitivity in design allows this linking of new to the old with little disruption physically or visually with the original. 

“We wanted to complete the works with a minimum of disruption to the site, including the planned garden rejuvenation works,” explained Pauline.

I also notice something else. Giving the illusion that it has been there forever, the new section features an extensive use of traditional weatherboard. Reminiscent of stables or a coach house, the area housing the downstairs and upstairs wet areas of bathrooms, toilets and laundry are enclosed with their services running within the wall cavity. This timber section visually is in perfect proportion to the larger-scale two story stonewall to which it snugly attaches. 

I am also discovering more about the many uniquely demanding skills engaged in shaping this ambitious transformation. It is already evident that true craftsmen are rebuilding Heartwood as a labour of love and a demonstration of a fresh passion.

“Glass. Timber. Stone. These three elements are applied so beautifully at Heartwood,” says Ouwens Casserly Real Estate agent Dale Gray who is closely following the progress of the Hurren Heartwood Team 

“They particularly excite the architect and as they are coming together here, they excite me. The completed combination will reward the future owners aesthetically, visually and practically.”

I can understand how Heartwood 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.

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.