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A state house gets a modern addition


When a little state house is kitted out with a modern addition, it’s a yin and yang arrangement that suits this young family perfectly

Who lives here? 
Gus Roberts (executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi), Victoria Roberts (marketing mum), Louie, Isla, Izzy and Tiggy the cat.

What did they do?
Doubled the size of the home in three ways: re-shaped the layout of the statie, crafted an extension for the living, dining and kitchen space and re-purposed the quaint but unusable garage with the help of architect Tim Dorrington. Tim’s vision went against the Zeitgeist of the time. Instead of mimicking the look of the original, he was adamant the addition should be clearly modern.

Victoria, how does the house function with three young children?
I love all the bullet-proof surfaces – the concrete floors and the stainless-steel benches. The kids sometimes come in here with their trikes and they can’t wreck the place. Plus I don’t feel like I need to run around polishing everything all the time.

Gus, what’s your favourite area of the home?
The built-in window seat in the living area is a great place to read the Sunday morning papers.

Working with an architect

  • Choose someone who understands your lifestyle, someone you can discuss ideas with over a beer. This is a fairly close relationship that will in all likelihood go on for over a year and breaks the boundaries of professional into a more personal one.
  • Look for an architect who has a good relationship with a builder that you also respect. If they work well together, chances are the process will run more smoothly.
  • Get ready for a journey, a collaboration where your ideas will be tested! If the relationship between architect and owner is a good one, the end result will be better than you could have imagined.
  • Rather than focussing on how many rooms you want – or how many square metres you think you need – instead have a good understanding of how you need the house to function. Any architect worth their salt will be able to maximise spaces (and functionality) by efficient planning, and weave together


Words by:
Claire McCall
Photography by: Helen Bankers

When a little state house is kitted out with a modern addition, it’s a yin and yang arrangement that suits this young family perfectly

Who lives here? 
Gus Roberts (executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi), Victoria Roberts (marketing mum), Louie, Isla, Izzy and Tiggy the cat.

What did they do?
Doubled the size of the home in three ways: re-shaped the layout of the statie, crafted an extension for the living, dining and kitchen space and re-purposed the quaint but unusable garage with the help of architect Tim Dorrington. Tim’s vision went against the Zeitgeist of the time. Instead of mimicking the look of the original, he was adamant the addition should be clearly modern.

Victoria, how does the house function with three young children?
I love all the bullet-proof surfaces – the concrete floors and the stainless-steel benches. The kids sometimes come in here with their trikes and they can’t wreck the place. Plus I don’t feel like I need to run around polishing everything all the time.

Gus, what’s your favourite area of the home?
The built-in window seat in the living area is a great place to read the Sunday morning papers.

Working with an architect

  • Choose someone who understands your lifestyle, someone you can discuss ideas with over a beer. This is a fairly close relationship that will in all likelihood go on for over a year and breaks the boundaries of professional into a more personal one.
  • Look for an architect who has a good relationship with a builder that you also respect. If they work well together, chances are the process will run more smoothly.
  • Get ready for a journey, a collaboration where your ideas will be tested! If the relationship between architect and owner is a good one, the end result will be better than you could have imagined.
  • Rather than focussing on how many rooms you want – or how many square metres you think you need – instead have a good understanding of how you need the house to function. Any architect worth their salt will be able to maximise spaces (and functionality) by efficient planning, and weave together


Words by:
Claire McCall
Photography by: Helen Bankers

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