A BEAUTIFUL HOME IN THE BROOKE WITH A GARAGE CONVERSION

David and Jenny Littlewood were considering downsizing when they found out that a friend of theirs in Borrowdale Brooke was planning to sub divide their property. They eagerly jumped at the opportunity to purchase the land and build their new home. Because of the nature of the sub-division a small existing building was included on their stand, which has now become an office/storeroom. In around 2014 David and Jenny consulted with Bruce Rowlands from Architexture Spatial Design to begin planning their new home. They were familiar with Rowlands’ style and had seen a house he’d designed which was similar to what they were looking for, so he was a natural choice to become their architect. Together the Littlewoods and Rowlands devised the final plans – a process Jenny looks back on fondly. Sadly David passed away recently, after spending just four years in their new home – so Jenny’s memories are now particularly poignant.

The design of the house bears many of Rowlands’ signature touches. The main living area has a high ceiling with exposed trusses that follows the line of the Chromadek roof and there’s a row of high clerestory windows on either side for additional natural light as well as generous glass and aluminium doors opening to a large verandah. In this home the open plan living and dining room have been partially demarcated by a double sided hearth with a freestanding chimney breast that rises up to the ceiling. It helps to make the large space feel more intimate and cosy without fully breaking the area into two separate rooms. It also doesn’t overly impede the view from the front door through the house and out, over the pool, to the garden beyond. The property is right on the edge of the golf course with no wall or fence to mark the boundary, so the whole golf course and waterway becomes part of the garden. A great example of ‘borrowed scenery’!

The open plan space has been decorated in a very personal style with a well-chosen mix of vintage, antique and modern pieces. Persian rugs soften the teak floors, there’s loads of comfortable seating from sofas to single chairs, and a few quirky touches – like vintage suitcases used as side tables – add to the charm. A very modern, plain white console supports a wide screen TV with matching antique-style lamps and candleholders each side. It feels as if every piece has been carefully curated so it all works together – and each piece has a special meaning and history behind it.

Bi-fold doors lead out to the huge verandah and effectively double the living space with two lounge seating areas – one more formal and one more relaxed with cane and wicker furniture – and a second dining space. There’s also a bar that opens to the verandah that’s ideal for entertaining friends and family around the pool. The home has two bedrooms, both with en suite bathrooms. The master bedroom en suite boasts both an indoor and an outdoor shower within a private courtyard and a dressing room. Although the area is prone to flooding in the rainy season, being close to the natural waterway, Rowlands’ design (together with engineer John Ridgewell) has accommodated this with a series of foundation piles so the home is totally stable and safe from the seasonal rising water.

The open plan space has been decorated in a very personal style with a well-chosen mix of vintage, antique and modern pieces. Persian rugs soften the teak floors, there’s loads of comfortable seating from sofas to single chairs, and a few quirky touches – like vintage suitcases used as side tables – add to the charm. A very modern, plain white console supports a wide screen TV with matching antique-style lamps and candleholders each side. It feels as if every piece has been carefully curated so it all works together – and each piece has a special meaning and history behind it. Bi-fold doors lead out to the huge verandah and effectively double the living space with two lounge seating areas – one more formal and one more relaxed with cane and wicker furniture – and a second dining space.

There’s also a bar that opens to the verandah that’s ideal for entertaining friends and family around the pool. The home has two bedrooms, both with en suite bathrooms. The master bedroom en suite boasts both an indoor and an outdoor shower within a private courtyard and a dressing room. Although the area is prone to flooding in the rainy season, being close to the natural waterway, Rowlands’ design (together with engineer John Ridgewell) has accommodated this with a series of foundation piles so the home is totally stable and safe from the seasonal rising water.

In 2018 Jenny Littlewood decided to convert the double garage into a separate and self-contained apartment. It works well as both a rental apartment or as accommodation for visiting family members as it can be accessed from the main house or it can be completely independent. While the original house was built by Elevate Construction the garage/loft conversion was built by Kalamain Construction. Together with her sons Mathew and James Jenny worked on the design and construction with Rowlands as the architect again. Rowlands’ design has echoed the design of the main house so that it blends in well and forms a single integrated edifice. A small linking section between the main house and the cottage houses batteries and inverters for the solar system. The double garage conversion now has an open plan living room, dining room and kitchen downstairs with a bedroom and bathroom upstairs.

The kitchen fits neatly against the back wall while the front of the space opens out to a new covered verandah. The bedroom has big east facing windows and a glassed in gable so it feels light and sunny, and a small pony wall separates it from the west facing bathroom and also acts as a backing wall for the bed. The en suite bathroom has a dividing wall so the toilet is partly set apart. The freestanding bathtub below the window feels spa-like and luxurious – a special place to relax and unwind. The double storey garage conversion on one side and the existing storeroom on the other side create a formal entrance courtyard to the main house lined with standard roses.

The garage has been replaced by covered parking on the street front and access to the main house is now through double wrought iron gates – designed and manufactured by Basil and Lindy Rowlands, formerly of ArtMart at Doon Estate. Six palm trees now preside over the paved entrance and parking space. Together with input from her family, and with the design skills of Rowlands, Jenny has created a lasting tribute to her husband David. She’s created a warm and comfortable home with a distinct, if slightly eclectic flavour, perfectly suited to her lifestyle and ready for entertaining – once our current lockdown is over.


 


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