Old becomes new again

Where did the 18000 bricks from our demolition of the old house in High Street Seymour go? 14000 of them went into our new house. Initially we were unsure if we would have enough for the double brick walls so that doesn’t include the hidden layer in the external brick walls, here we used new “seconds” bricks. The surplus has been used for paving and other projects. These photos were taken prior to the bricks being sandblasted so the red of the clay isn’t evident.

The house was designed and built around the original front door of the late Victorian house and so we have 10ft ceilings that provide the house with a wonderful sense of space. We incorporated all the materials from the old house into our home or other projects and one of our favourite pieces is the original chimney top pictured here. I have posted a picture of our living/eating kitchen/study area as it incorporates the double-sided fireplace and internal brick wall that separates this living area from the rest of the house. The idea of using the bricks internally came from reading about Trombe walls and their effectiveness with thermal mass. The fireplace sits in the middle of the room and has a North-facing window next to it, one side is open for special use and the other side has an efficient Australian made combustion heater built in. With the use of a heat transfer kit to the bedrooms our house is always warm. In the heat of summer we have ceiling fans to circulate air and it stays very comfortable.

The house incorporates a mix of recycled materials and standard building materials. We had a fantastic bricklayer who was happy to work with the handmade bricks, which are in no way uniform in shape. Our builder assisted in utilising the many materials including the Oregon from the old roof which was used to build the new door jams, (for the old doors). Not all tradespeople are so eager to work with second hand materials and I think we have found a nice balance between both worlds, although I would have loved more than four original windows (sigh). 

From an environmental perspective it could have been smaller, on the other hand it is a space that welcomes and envelopes friends and family with ease and this is as important to me as the green credibility of the building.

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