Ideas for renovating historic house living room/outdoor access

Annie
December 9, 2018
We are doing renovations on our near 110year old house in NSW, Australia.
We would like to replace the door and window (about 6m wide) on our north facing wall which attaches to the living room inside. Want access to outside from living room but must have flyscreen due to country living - so bifold doors won’t work. Have children so needs to be kid friendly.
I would like some ideas please

Comments (35)

  • PRO
    Dr Retro House Calls

    For a home that is 110 years old you are the custodians. Make sure that your choice reflects the style of the architecture, so future owners don't scratch their heads and wonder "What were they thinking?".


    Have you considered engaging a professional who specializes in heritage properties for advice? Obviously the previous owners who put in those aluminium sliding windows had no idea about the heritage of your home. Most window manufacturers have no idea about history or heritage. You could check out some of the custom heritage window joinery companies, such as Whetstone Windows, who specialise in appropriate period windows.


    http://www.whetstonewindows.com.au/


    They are also on Houzz:

    https://www.houzz.com/pro/whetstonejoinery/whetstone-windows-doors


    Best of luck,


    Dr Retro

    of Dr Retro House Calls



  • oklouise

    is the wall curved? a plan of the house showing dimension will make it easier to understand the spaces but you should also have an electrician inspect the air con and meter box? to ask if they can be moved

  • PRO
    MB Design & Drafting

    Why not use some period style timber 'french' doors with high light windows? Still a lot of companies around hand making doors and windows in the traditional style but meeting current building codes and thermal requirements.


    Maybe 2 sets of 2/820 door units? 2550 high x 1700 wide.


    I would also look at relocating meter box and air con. More for aesthetics perhaps.



  • bigreader
    French doors would be my suggestion too. I’ve seen panelled exterior heritage doors from a reclamation yard have the top panels replaced with glass. They came up great. And they weren’t that expensive.
  • Annie
    Thanks everyone for your suggestions.
    Oklouise sorry the wall is not curved. I was trying to fit the area into a photo so put it on pano - will not next time, sorry for confusion.
    Love the idea of French doors. Keeping in the heritage style but do you think sliding doors could work also? More so for ease?
    The aircon unit is going during the renovations.
  • Annie
    Sliding “French style” door?
  • oklouise

    i have to agree that sliding doors would be so much easier to use and fly screen but the location of the opening (centred or to one side or the other) is very much affected by the floor plan and traffic patterns inside and suggest you show the floorplans for more considered suggestions

  • Annie
    Thanks for reminding me oklouise
    First photo is of suggested redesign of the interior. Second photo is of current floor plan.
  • oklouise

    thanks Annie but can't read the writing on the original plan and what's the proposed space next to the kitchen and is the door off the kitchen essential?

  • PRO
    Dr Retro House Calls

    Annie, it is always a balancing act between authenticity and practicality when dealing with a heritage home. French doors are always hinged, never sliding. Glazed, sliding external doors are a modernist invention that were developed around the middle of the twentieth century when the technology became available to manufacture large sheets of glass.


    This means that a large, glazed, sliding door will be the wrong proportion and not look authentic to your 110 year old home. However there is no denying the practicality with flyscreens, kids, and catching the breeze that a sliding door offers.



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    Best of luck with your considerations,


    Dr Retro

    of Dr Retro House Calls

  • Annie
    Thanks Dr. Reno house calls, out thoughts also re ease of sliding doors even though not completely authentic.
    Oklouise. The writing on the original are the height of the ceilings. The room next to kitchen is a study that we at this stage not doing anything with. Yes the door from kitchen is necessary because that goes into the breeze way. I hope that helps
  • PRO
    Paul Di Stefano Design

    suggest first get furniture/layout on the plan.....I was explaining how critical this is at a client meeting last night & how the last thing locked down are the walls & windows, the FIRST thing that needs to be addressed is the furniture and joinery.......in renovations it's bit of different process but the theory remains that it's about flow and function of the internals and then the solution for the windows/doors comes from that.......Annie here you need to work out whether function overrides the aesthetic considerations. If preservation/reinstatement of the original style is important then hinged/french doors probably the go but it will require careful management of swing and furniture positioning. I recall living in a rental years ago where french doors looked great from the outside, but were functionally debilitating swinging in to the small living space...perhaps consider french doors swinging out and install an integrated retractable sliding fly screen (such as Centor or similar- they're not cheap, but they are are very good when properly done). You then can keep the interior clear of door swing and not then see any flyscreens obstruction when not in use.


  • siriuskey

    Hi Annie, Like Oklouise it is very difficult to read measurements so that a floor plan showing possible furniture positions can be done. What furniture do you have that needs fitting into the spaces

  • oklouise

    for kid friendly and ease of fly screening i would keep the original single hinged door with fanlight (same as already there) with matching style windows (say 1200 -1500 wide with fanlights?) and about 450mm off the floor ...windows allow for easier ventilation, keep traffic away from the seating area indoors and out and have a better match to the style of the original building and consider relocating the breezeway door for easier access to the new kitchen from indoors and out


  • Annie
    Oh my gosh oklouise - that is amazing! Thank you so much for going to so much effort and with dimensions etc
    Attached is what I had in mind for furniture -have a ten seater oak table and dark brown leather L shaped couch (will have exact demeanours tonight)

    The exact dimensions on the original plan photo is
    4030 along wall where we are discussing
    4905 on wall up left of this (east internal wall)
    3675 length of dining and kitchen (east internal wall)
    3060 kitchen south external wall


    Thank you for the great ideas too siriuskey & pail d stefano design. I had thought of an idea about opening the doors outward with internal flyscreen doors opening inward....?
  • oklouise

    you said that the front wall was big enough for a 6 m window so can't understand the 4030?? please write the measurements on each section of wall in all the separate rooms

  • Annie
    Oklouise. So sorry. The western internal wall is not completely straight and I did my measurement off the southern external wall. From the design companies measurements the northern wall which we are discussing is 4030 + 1450. So 5480 (I will confirm tonight for you).

    Just so you know, The design company was amazing and I don’t want to seem like I am going against her ideas because they were great, however she suggested doing 2 x sliding door with a section of wall in the middle where the doors opened into. I wasn’t 100% sold on this idea (especially the extra bit of wall) hence why I am asking on this forum.
  • oklouise

    the "extra bit of wall" would hold up the roof and ceilings and save costs over a single opening that will need to have a huge support beam installed at substantial extra cost plus the cost of working around the slightly crooked wall.....you've placed the L shaped lounge away from the walls which would allow traffic to walk to the original front door but relocating the entry to the middle of the room will mean that you have to walk between the furniture to go outside...thinking about plans for the whole house is better than concentrating on only one aspect and if the kitchen is only 3m wide there isn't enough space for an island bench in either direction so accurate measurements will help make a proper scale plan to help you decide what will suit best

  • PRO
    Paul Di Stefano Design

    Without fully understanding the rest of the house, it's hard to provide accurate advice...but think about possibly taking cues/proportions/dimensions from other windows around the building. Perhaps some photos taken further back showing more of the house, the roof, verandah and sides etc, will help

  • Annie
    Thank you everyone again for your input and patience with me. This is my first post on Houzz, and I definitely feel like I am stumbling through it!

    Photos of house from front and the whole house original plan.

    Dimensions I have just measured From east to west wall when the internal original entrance walkway wall has been removed. 6400. Oklouise, again I am sorry that the previous values I gave you were incorrect.

    Dining Table is 3200 long x 900wide
    Couch is 3400 long x 2400 wide
  • Annie
    Oklouise I have just seen my mistake. I was wondering how the design lady got such an indifference to my measurements. She hadn’t it was my reading of her measurements! It was 4930 (the stem of the 9 was perfectly written over a graph line, and so camouflaged it from me - silly me!)
  • me me
    I know someone who's heritage house has double sets of french doors. The inside set are glass and open inwards and the outside set are timber framed flyscreen and open outwards. They look really good.
  • Annie
    Thanks me me. So nice to know what has worked for others.
    Would you happen to have any photos of it, just so I can get an idea please?
  • oklouise

    no apologies needed...all the extra information helps invite better suggestions but my initial reaction to the photo and the whole house plan is to confirm my idea of keeping the original front door and having taller windows in the new living area instead of a super wide opening but i'm wondering if you have plans for more changes as i strongly recommend that you measure the inside of each section of wall to have a better understanding of the existing rooms as the dimensions and location of the walls are inconsistent but there should be enough space for your furniture in the new living and dining rooms


  • PRO
    Paul Di Stefano Design

    Yeah I reckon be super careful with this one....be conscious of making changes that will impact the character and balance to the facade.......when it comes to this era and style, scaling of the fenestration is really important......below is a project that we developed a new home, but the client wanted to reference the homestead type of building of similar era to yours.....that entry door with the highlight window is an important thing to keep IMO, possibly you may need to get some further architectural assistance to ensure you don't make changes that are incongruent to your beautiful property

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  • Annie
    Thanks Paul D stefano. What a beautiful house you have designed, I’m sure the owners are thrilled with the results. I do need to chat more with the builders and see how structurally sound the wall is if we were to put in French doors. I have found some ideas on Houzz that have a window above the doors (to keep in line with the door already there). Sorry oklouise, ai still really love the idea having doors instead of windows - if structurally possible
  • siriuskey

    love your house Annie, your French doors should be hung with hinges that will open the doors back flat against the wall indoor or out, Parliament Hinges etc

    if you open the doors inward the external screen door/s could be the same or you could use sliding screen doors






  • Annie
    Thanks siriuskey. They are great suggestions indeed! If they only had ones with screens on it also! I will ask for parliament hinges
  • siriuskey

    These people are excellent to deal with, it's an online store that sells to everyone, I just bought metal sided draw kits to fit my 900 pantry (you supply the timber bits using existing shelves) which would normally cost 100 - 200$, for $14.50 per drawer, plus the Hafele 170 hinges to open the doors wide enough for the drawers to slide, Just $5 per, they have the Parliament Hinges also.

    https://elraco.com.au/index.php/black-hhttps://elraco.com.au/index.php/black-hinge-c-32_4274inge-c-32_4274

  • Annie
    Thanks siriuskey. Going to have a chat with the builder to see what we can do structurally, but I do like the idea of French doors (keeping it in line with the vintage of the house and the study doors are already French doors- are photo). Do you or does anyone on this forum know where the best place to get French doors made are?
  • Annie
    Oklouise. I just found this photo on Houzz, I see what you mean with keeping the front door and maybe this could be a compromise if the wall is not as structurally sound as first hoped...
  • siriuskey

    I'd look at a recycling Place for the doors it will save a lot of money

  • legendaryflame
    There are a couple of restoration places in Brisbane: Finlaysons and Woodworkers, so surely there would be similar companies in Sydney?