34A Esther Road

CategoryContribution to the Built Environment
ArchitectMcNally Architects

This project is the rejuvenation of a two-level sandstone and timber shingled semi on the Balmoral slopes, with sweeping views to the Harbour and Grotto Point Lighthouse.

The upgrade carefully respects the original fa├žade: sandstone walls have been repaired and repointed and the timber windows, shingle and frieze detailing lovingly restored.

The result is in harmony with the streetscape, with a new entertaining area off the garage providing community connection.

Inside, the subtle contemporary additions shine. New internal spaces have been oriented east-west, providing natural flow and creating a relaxed living environment.

New stairs run along the northern party wall, with a linear skylight filtering natural light throughout the levels.

An internal courtyard creates a secluded sanctuary, with views through the house to the Harbour. It also divides the kitchen/dining/living area from the private master bedroom and its airy ensuite, which in turn opens to a tranquil bonsai garden.


The building’s footprint was maintained, natural materials selected.

  • Large doors allow natural ventilation.
  • Skylight and high clerestory windows allow natural light and air into south facing rooms.
  • Sandstone blocks were re-used as a living room feature.
  • The 5000-litre recycled water tank services toilets and gardens.

Innovative sustainable design elements:

  • Skylight over the stairs draws light to the lower level, enhanced by open tread stairs.
  • High clerestory windows allow cross ventilation and natural light.
  • The courtyard draws natural light and air into the middle of the building also used to divide spaces for heating or cooling.

Environmental footprint of the building is minimised by:

  • New spaces flow efficiently without increasing the building footprint.
  • Landscaping has expanded.
  • Windows, doors and sandstone were recycled from the existing building, minimising waste.
  • Local materials used.
  • Result is a low maintenance home using sustainable materials, low VOC paints, solar energy, rainwater and low-water vegetation.