Upmarket Brighton builder Nick McKimm is probably best known for his sleek, contemporary designs, but his portfolio does include period-styled projects, too.
Nanjing Night Net

So when it came to his family home, he saw the chance to combine old and new, deciding to transform a two-storey Edwardian-Federation period house in Brighton, which he bought from friends in 2007. The house, just 200 metres from the beach, had already undergone one makeover in the 1990s.

While Mr McKimm ended up building his family of five a house five minutes down the road in Yuille Street (where he has built seven houses), he saw the Park Street project through, completing the job in mid-2008.

Mr McKimm has largely retained the shape of the period facade, rendering the brickwork with a grey finish, replacing the terracotta roof tiles with a more sophisticated black and, most noticeably, replacing a left-side front sitting room with a three-car garage. He also added a balcony to the protruding upper storey, remodelled the supporting columns enclosing the porch and landscaped the front garden.

While significant sections of the original footprint have been retained, the inside has been gutted. To the right of a wide entrance sits a formal living room (originally the formal dining room), which leads to an L-shaped open-plan family, dining and kitchen area. Carpet has been used to separate subtly the formal and casual living rooms from the distinctive parquetry floor in the hallway and dining-kitchen area.

The warm tones of the timber floor help retain a period sensibility in a modern environment. The part-stone, part-timber island bench in the kitchen captures the same feeling.

Encased in full-height glass doors, the whole back area overlooks a north-facing deck with built-in barbecue and stone-clad outdoor fireplace, with a lawn on the east side of the garden. On the west side, a pool abuts a squat cabana with entertainment station, bar and bathroom, as well as bluestone decking and day beds.

From the back, the house roughly mirrors the front with a pair of traditional pitched roofs and timber-strip balconies. This mix of old and new almost gives the house a European alpine chalet look.

The first floor has been rebuilt rather than just renovated, as Mr McKimm planned, because the underlying structure was in poor condition.The back half has been raised and extended – replacing the original dormer – so the pitched upper level now covers the ground floor, creating a much larger footprint upstairs.

”I didn’t go the flat roof or use Alucobond out the back, as so often happens,” Mr McKimm says. ”Rather, I replicated the [existing] roof line, so it felt more traditional.”

A funnel-shaped skylight provides a modern touch above the American oak staircase. To the left at the top of the stairs, there is a cinema-rumpus room at the end of the corridor, and an extra storage area and balcony have been added. Two large bedrooms, either side of the landing, are much as they were, but now each has a walk-in wardrobe and en suite.

The corridor to the right leads past a third bedroom, with balcony and shared en suite, to the main bedroom. While not the largest main bedroom you’ve seen, it does have a huge dressing room, en suite and north-facing balcony. These areas are all part of the addition upstairs.

More than just a bigger footprint, the cathedral or vaulted ceilings upstairs – where the ceilings follow the rake of the roof line – make each of the rooms feel spacious and airy.

”It does sort of reinforce that feeling of living in a European-styled villa,” Mr McKimm says.

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