Birchgrove House involved alterations and additions to a significant 1889 heritage-listed Victorian Regency residence, with rustic gothic elements, located in a Conservation zone on the Balmain peninsular. The design approach was to reveal and enhance the features of the original building to act as a backdrop to a new living pavilion sited away from the existing building, in the middle of the rear yard. It was essential that the original building was upgraded but essentially retained in the final design. This included the retention of the magnificent central staircase. The clever insertion of a bathroom within the roof space, retained the original three-bedroom attic configuration. Original hefty hardwood floor boards were kept, sanded and the gaps caulked to resemble the deck of an old sailing vessel. The new pavilion is designed as a garden room with glass to three sides. It has one simple tilted roof form to provide access to light, cross ventilation and a deep overhang to control the western sun. The roof is also used to capture water for reuse on the site. The separation of buildings creates a new private courtyard accessed directly off the refurbished kitchen annexe, now relocated in it’s original position with views out to the rear yard. The result is a carefully considered modification that enhances the character of the existing residence and provides an environmentally driven modern family home.