Wednesday, 09 June 2021

A respectful approach to Subiaco’s heritage

Subiaco residents value heritage and character as part of their local identity, and protecting this heritage is part of the Strategic Community Plan – the community’s mandate to the City.

The City offers a range of incentives and assistance measures for owners of heritage-listed properties to ensure these important buildings are retained and conserved while enabling them to be adapted for modern living.

12 Rawson Street is a great example of this, with the owners using a City of Subiaco Heritage Grant to help enhance its heritage values while making it into a modern family home.

Constructed in 1908, 12 Rawson Street was the subject of an unfortunate makeover in 1960s which resulted in the removal of the majority of its original external detailing. In a streetscape of beautifully restored Federation era houses, this house was a standout for all the wrong reasons. 

When the house hit the market in 2018 owners Alison and Steven Visser saw the potential to restore it and add another chapter to its history. 

"We’d been looking for a project for years and when we saw this house, we both knew we’d found our forever home," they said. "Even though it was an ugly duckling, it had everything we’d been looking for: the right location, the northern rear and the right flow. Most importantly it had great bones and aside from the unfortunate ’60s renovation, all the features were still there."

The Visser’s reconstructed the façade returning it to its former glory – this involved removing the 1960s style verandah, re-instating a bullnose verandah with timber detailing, replacing the aluminium windows to the façade with timber sash windows, re-instating two chimneys, reversing alterations to the roofing material, and re-instating a sympathetic front fence.

The family also added an extension which they discretely located towards the rear of the house so as to not intrude into the streetscape or detract from the original house. They reconfigured some of the original internal spaces in a respectful manner and made sure there was careful and sympathetic separation of old and new.  

The respect they showed for the original building has meant that they have retained and enhanced its heritage values while successfully adding modern living areas and amenity without compromising the streetscape presentation.

"We feel so fortunate that we now have a spacious home that our family can grow into, whilst still being able to appreciate the heritage details of the federation era," the Visser's said.

Read about the interesting discoveries that Alison and Steve Visser made while undertaking the works on their house.
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