Talbot House

Talbot House

Talbot House originally sat on an open outcrop above the sandy bluff of Beaumaris Beach. Named Talbot House after early occupants of what was then a modest 4 room stone villa. Built in the 1860’s, the house that stands today is neither modest nor original. It sits now as a grand stately home, set on a large Beaumaris suburban allotment of some four thousand square meters.

The architecture of this Heritage listed house has been dramatically altered numerous time over its life. The most extensive being completed in the 1920’s, covering the entire front elevation and the inclusion of a new roof line. Latter additions and remodelling also occurred in the 1980’s covering the rear façade of the house, and turning this once modest stone villa into the stately home it is today.

Talbot House has seen the evolution of building techniques and architectural styles from locally quarried stone to the reproduction of Corinthian columns from a postmodern era. The building now sits as a time capsule with remnants of Italianate, Victorian, Modern and Art Deco influences. The clients' desire to further add and amend to the building was both a challenge and delight. With such a chequered and pastiche history, the challenge was not to add to the confusion of what was “original” and to clearly define the new. 

This the first stage of a number of future stages and is the most connected to the site and house. This stage was to deal with the accommodation of cars and the creation of a new room connected to the landscape, as well as reorientation of the outdoor areas. Internally, the only works were the removal of an office and sauna to allow a connection to a more favourable northern exposure. Externally, the creation of a new entry from a rear street frontage allowed for an on grade entrance into a below ground parking area. Above, a new loggia and landscaped terrace was created connecting both the parking and house above. 

The architecture is of grand proportions, slender steel work stand as a modern interpretation of a colonnade with a black glass pediment framed by a modern simplicity. The cruciform steel columns are no more plain and simple than the ornate fret work on the existing Victorian veranda. The long and wide veranda wraps around the eastern façade creating a grand promenade that lightly touches the existing building. Sitting in the grounds of a grand old house with many stories, it is important to quietly and sensitively contribute to the narrative. Something old, something borrowed and something new.

Architects: Watson Young Architects
Design Lead: Craig Smart
Builder: Morgan & Co Group

• Watson Young Architects submitted Talbot House into the 2019 Victorian Architecture Awards to compete in the Houses (Alterations and Additions) category

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