All houses evolve over time. Acton, which is almost 200 years old, has changed from a grand but modest early Colonial manor house with servants/convicts, which also served as a base for the families working on the surrounding rural property, to become a single family home with a mode of living that could never have been imagined when the house was built. The design approach to the extensions required was to create new ‘outbuildings’ replicating those traditionally located around an open courtyard close to the rear of the homestead. The materials used were the stone and timber of the original condemned 1820 barn, which had suffered irreparable damage in a violent storm, with one side collapsing and the roof caving in. Its timber was either all adzed or pit sawn, and included the longest piece of timber (18 metres) from Colonial times. The materials were painstakingly dismantled and rebuilt. The result is architecture as an informed dialogue, with the new work being obviously contemporary yet with truly ancient Colonial components; the result creating something visually compelling. It is far, far richer as a story of the evolution of a Colonial homestead than a simple new extension could ever have been.


Circa Morris-Nunn Architects


Bennett Construction


Structural engineer – JMG

Building surveyor – R Wierenga

Landscape consultant –Play Street

Bushfire management – MRH

Quantity surveyor – WT Partnership

Heritage consultant – Peter Spratt


Matt Sansom


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