LYSAGHT helps return ‘Ellerslie’ to its former glory

‘Ellerslie’, a two storey Victorian-era terrace house, dates back to 1886. Located in Sydney’s Marrickville, it stands high on a ridge and offers views over the Cooks River Valley.

As built, it was considered a fine example of the Italianate style of architecture. Unfortunately however, time (or more accurately, ill-conceived renovation decisions) have not been kind to the Victorian-era dwelling.

By the turn of the millennium, it was a shadow of its former self. Much of its original Italianate detail had been removed; the original roof coverings had been replaced with concrete tiles; the front balcony had been built-in; the house’s decorative fascias, iron lace and cast-iron columns, and curved corrugated balcony roofs had all been removed; and its tessellated tiles had been covered with concrete pavers.

In addition, the interior dividing doors between the formal living rooms had been removed; cornices and ceiling roses had been taken off to accommodate built-ins and modern light fittings; some of the house’s windows had been replaced with aluminium; and its stained glass had been covered up.

The task of restoring the house fell to Mackenzie Pronk Architects. After much consideration, they settled on a two-pronged approach.

The first of these was a full restoration, which they completed with the assistance of Wilred Constructions. To re-roof the dwelling, they chose LYSAGHT CUSTOM ORB® in ZINCALUME® steel, along with original style LYSAGHT QUAD gutters and round downpipes.

Then, as a second step, Mackenzie Pronk made some additions to the historic residence.

Using recycled timbers, they (along with builders D2 Constructions and Xtrafine) created a plunge pool, deck, pool fence and boat house. In addition, they used original sandstock bricks from the demolished single room and laundry structure to pave the driveway and western side outdoor dining area.

But the major addition came in the form of new living areas and a main bedroom suite (constructed by Morgan and Civil), which are completely separate to the original house. To ensure this, the most exciting element of the overall project, was sympathetic to the original house, the architects chose their palette carefully. For example, they specified internal and external timber linings and included a corrugated ZINCALUME® steel clad structure as an armature for sliding timber doors on the key facades.

However, the architects’ approach was far from conservative. Relying heavily on LYSAGHT® steel products, the addition contrasts sharply with the Victorian frontage.

Strikingly, for example, it includes ZINCALUME® steel wall cladding and LYSAGHT CUSTOM ORB ACCENT® roof sheeting, which is trimmed to the view side with an over scaled hot rolled steel angle portal frame.

Internally, steel columns structure the use of the spaces and the palette includes a stainless-steel kitchen and timber linings. The folded ZINCALUME® steel flashings at window openings are modelled off traditional detailing.

Well-received by all, the project was recently named Best Heritage/Restoration project at the Lysaght Inspirations Design Awards, a program that celebrates outstanding Australian architectural work incorporating LYSAGHT® steel building products.

A well-deserved winner, the project means that Ellerslie has not only returned to its former glory, but also stepped confidently into the 21st century.