House By The Forest (HBTF) is a ground floor extension to an existing double storey dwelling in the Central Coast suburb of Horsfield Bay. The additions to the existing dwelling basically fill up an existing interstitial space between the main house and a studio cum rumpus room at the rear.

Accessibility is a primary consideration to the design of the spaces as one of the owners became wheelchair bound due to a motor vehicle accident not long ago. The existing master bedroom and its ensuite, as well as the laundry, have to be reconfigured in order to provide accessibility. As the site abuts the Brisbane Water National Park to the west, it is considered to be located within a bushfire prone area. However, its proximity to the bushland and forest beyond also offers opportunity for the new kitchen, dining and living spaces to have a direct connection with the natural setting. A full height bi-fold glass door with BAL-FZ rating is located at the threshold between the exisiting swimming pool and the new extension. The new skillion roof with a generous cantilever offers some solar shading from the western sun while the new space can be completely opened up to the pool and nature beyond. The pool also serves as a natural air-conditioner which can cool cross ventilation of hot air through the house during the summer months.

There are also three new bedrooms added to the extension for each of the client’s young children who were previously housed upstairs. The new extension thus become a hub for family life and interaction. It serves not only as an oasis away from the busy and noisy traffic on the main road, but also a sanctuary for the disabled owner to start living a new life of independence. As the warm spaces and gentle aesthetics of the new dwelling nourish the spirit of its inhabitants, it also begins to calm and heal the soul of the family in its recovery process from the trauma of a severe car accident.