Historic House Restored to its Former Glory
The previously run-down house ‘Rothiemay’ has been restored to its former glory with the help of the Heritage team at NBRSARCHITECTURE, providing valuable advice in the restoration process. After facing a long period of neglect, this beautiful house has been conserved in line with good heritage practice. The collective efforts of both NBRS and McCullum Ashby Architects resulted in the restored ‘Rothiemay’ winning the Ku-Ring-Gai Architecture + Urban Design Awards 2017: Heritage and Building Design award.
Originally designed by F Glynn Gilling in 1939 in response to the Hollywood Mediterranean fashions of the 1930s, the grand estate fell into disrepair over several decades. In order to finance the restoration, the strategic subdivision of its most northern lower garden enabled the extensive restoration works, whilst conserving its more significant garden setting. The original spaces, materials, details and finishes were preserved, while new services were inserted into spaces with less heritage significance or where more structural repair was necessary. Extensive repairs to the cracking masonry were also necessary.
Close attention was paid to the interior of the house to restore the finishes and fixtures, including commissioning new sections of Art Deco cornice to match the originals that were damaged by water. Outside, the façade has been reinforced and re-painted. This has left the classical porch and grandly scaled curved bays standing proud. The grand vistas play off a careful use of curves. This asymmetrical formality of Glynn Gilling’s original design is now easy to appreciate.
The landscaped gardens have also enjoyed a large amount of restorative attention, with the central water feature, sandstone retaining walls and sandstone flagging paving the main features of this process. Landscape architect Selena Hannan built on the heritage advice of NBRSARCHITECTURE to recreate the front garden apparent in early photographs.
The attention to detail resulted in a meticulous and exhaustive restoration of the previously neglected Wahroonga house. The skill of the NBRS Heritage team and conscientious builder has assisted Rothiemay to its current status as “an exemplary representation of Gilling’s domestic Australian architecture.” We hope the owner and the wider community are able to enjoy the revitalised house for years to come.