CONNECT HOUSE, Alterations and Additions to Existing Home, Orange, NSW

On a brisk, sunny, winter’s morning we were introduced to our client’s home in Orange NSW.

Their home had many large rooms with quirks often found in older, previously renovated homes. A staggered hallway led to the rear ad-hoc 90s add-on, creating a vast but unwelcoming space. The main living spaces were cold, cavernous and draughty; views to the iconic Mt Canobolas were obscured; and rooms like the bathroom and laundry were dysfunctional for the needs of a young, growing family, and just in the wrong place.

Sustainable Living

We set to sculpt, shape and reorganise the interior spaces to remain mostly within the extent of the existing footprint. As well as adding a small (only 20m2) amount of additional floor area, various adaptations allowed for an additional bedroom, bathroom, laundry and study.


Insert a courtyard to flood the living spaces with northern light and streamline the previous 1990s addition.

  • Spaces for working, reading and relaxing – well organised, quiet, and basking in the midday sun
  • Spaces for sharing, eating and playing are more connected, and now looking outwards to the mountain, the warm courtyard, or the thriving garden.

Big Picture Thinking

Very conscious of time and minimising project duration, this project was intentionally designed to fit within the allowable building envelope. For the location, this means keeping away from building on the boundary, and within the allowable boundary setback and maximum building height.

On top of including the fantastic internal courtyard, we designed a home that conformed to local building regulations (allowable building envelope), which meant we were able to avoid a potentially lengthy town planning (DA) application process.

Winter Solutions

Orange is a cold winter city: freezing overnight with clear blue skies by day.This house needed to be designed to be warm and cosy on the inside during winter, and light, bright, and airy in the summer months. Our clients’ priority was to maximise the energy efficiency of the home to reduce heating and cooling costs. One strategy was to specify thermally-broken window and doors frames with double glazing to minimise heat/cool transfer through the glazing – which can typically contribute up to 30% of the home’s heat gain and loss.

We were also conscious of protecting the living spaces from the hot summer sun.

Summer Sun Control

The new roof areas are designed to extend over the north-facing walls. This is to provide large eave areas, specifically sized to allow shading to north facing windows and glazed doors. For higher roof areas, additional sun-shading louvre units provide the same shading effect.

In addition, high performance insulation to wrap the house (including roof, ceiling, walls and floors) in high R-value insulation will provide greater protection and reduction of summer heat transfer.

Strategic Details that Support the Design and Client Requirements

Materials specified are locally sourced, like the FSC-certified Blackbutt specified for all flooring and joinery. We were also conscious of the whole-of-life-cycle for joinery materials. So instead we specified FSC-certified formaldehyde-free plywood, which has greater potential to be recycled in the future, and won’t leach toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the family home.

Project Update

We have completed the Construction Documentation stage of the project, with full architectural drawings and specifications. These are now ready for our Client to source a builder and complete their renovation. We are very excited to see the final product soon!

Project Team
Architecture and Interior Design
Cathi Colla Architects
Structural Engineer
Cook & Roe Structural Engineers
Energy Rater
Efficient Living Sustainable Building Consultants
Project Details
Architectural Services
Concept Design, Developed Design and Contract Documentation
Project Status
Construction pending

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