Mount Lawley

This renovation transforms a 1970’s Italian cottage into a mid-century modern family home.

The Mount Lawley Residence project has involved converting a 1970’s Italian house into a reinterpreted mid-century modern style family home.

Our alterations started with the replacement of the roof, with raised ceiling to the kitchen and dining area with new north facing highlights to increase the natural light reaching the heart of the home.

The new design keeps the underground garage and transform the adjacent room into a guest suite, complete with bathroom, laundry, and living area.

Client priorities

This home is our Director’s own residence. From the moment Adrian Fratelle and his wife Kylee Schoonens saw this home they fell in love with the possiblities. In fact they both had a chance meeting with this home a year before their purchase when Adrian’s mum sent his birthday card to this address by mistake. They also  discovered once they started renovation work, they could see  the church where they were married from their new kitchen. Fate? It would certainly seem so!

The layout of the home meant that they would not need to add to the footprint except for the addition of the ensuite. Minimising the carbon footprint of whatever home they chose was always going to be front of mind. Given the footprint and layout was already useable meant most of the brickwork and concrete in the home would remain.


The resulting design would need to maintain a comfortable temperature with minimal heating and cooling loads, provide the majority of its own energy and have good ventilation. A pool was on the wish list which would get the family out of the home on hot days reducing reliance on mechanical cooling. Kylee has multiple board roles as well as running her own architectural practice, Rothelowman, so it was important the home had a private office area for her to work. Adrian renovates motorcycles and loves woodworking so his wish was a workshop that had visibility over the pool allowing him to work and keep an eye on the kids.

The Design and Sustainability

Adrian and Kylee rightly designed their own home. They qailified the layout quickly as the home had the “right bones” to start with. It required only some minor alterations which included the removal of a wall between the existing kitchen and dining area to make one open plan space. The walk through walk in robe was bricked up so access was now only from the main bedroom and not the bathroom. Finally a bathroom/laundry area on the back of the kitchen was removed with a new ensuite being added to the front of the main bedroom. The ensuite addition also allowed for the transformation of the front elevation.

The existing tiled roof did not allow enough solar panels to be installed and the pitched roof design is dated. A new flat roof design was adopted and this allowed for 72 solar panels to be installed along with pool heating. The ceiling to the kitchen and dining was raised to 1.3m above the existing 2.7m high ceilings and this allowed for four Velux Skylights to be added as highlight windows. The ceiling extends out over the existing rear concrete deck and where the existing laundry was to create a grand alfseco with 4m high ceilings. Another three large Velux Skylights allow winter sun to penerate into this area. They also open in summer to create airflow. A bank of bifold doors open up the entire kitchen and dining zone to the alfresco. Highlight windows above these bifolds along with the Velux highlights to the Kitchen/Dining zone, allow breezes to pass through this space freely. During the night both sets of highlights may be kept open mainatining airflow and security. Air passing thorugh this zone purges the whole home of heat and along with ceiling fans they negate the use of airconditioning on hot nights.

Everything Electric

“I was very excited the day I removed the gas meter box,” says Adrian. From day one, this home was always targeted to showcase what is possible in energy conservation and self production. Plico provided a 13kw solar and 14kw battery solution, balanced with the anticipated consumption, the system provides up to 90% of the homes energy needs.

let’s work together

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