Nestled at the base of Mt Gibralter in the southern highlands of NSW, the Newlin family residence combines rustic country charm with cutting edge architecture and materials to deliver a warm, stylish house connected to nature.
Originally from Newtown in Sydney, the Newlin family including their dog Blinky, decided to make the tree change to Bowral just over 5 years ago. Jonty Newlin, originally from South Africa is a Graphic Designer that has always loved the southern highlands and moved his studio to his new home. The Family bought the run down timber cottage in late 2005 for a bargain and saw the potential to renovate right away. The property is located amongst tall spotted gums and has substantial views over the district.
The brief to the Architects was to keep the warm feel of timber and history of the original dwelling but reinvigorate and modernise the spaces whilst integrating the outdoor lifestyle of the family into the new design. Sagemister + Donke were the architects commissioned to undertake the substantial renovation. The design they came up with kept the original slab and most of the timber frame of the original cottage and added another slab to build the extensions. A new indoor/outdoor area was included, transitioning from a polished concrete floor with custom cast concrete seating to an outdoor area using recycled blackbutt timber sourced from the disused Gerringong train station. Large glass bifold doors from Brio were used to seamlessly move from indoor to outdoors areas – the family often open these in summertime to let the breeze flow in and entertain outside.
The entire exterior of the building was removed and cutting edge insulation imported from Germany installed. The insulation was sandwiched between the interior brick wall and the external cladding to keep it cozy in winter and cool in summer. The entire dwelling was clad with Japanese Larch for a stunning weathered look that basically requires no ongoing upkeep or oiling. The natural oils and chemicals in Larch, preserve the timber and also provide structural support.
Numerous large skylights were installed over previously dark sections of the house such as the bathrooms and kitchen. They work really well and fill the house with lots of natural light, with the added benefit of being able to take a bath and look at the stars! Triple glazed glass was used to stop the heat escaping or too much heat coming in summer and insect screens added to be able to open the windows.
The Newlins are very happy with the outcome and spent just over $500k on the renovations and extensions. They are planning to add a 15m lap pool too in the future and a dedicated design studio.