Queen Bess House | Q+A with Owners Sandy and Peter

by grant on October 30, 2018


Queen Bess House is THAT project – the first project designed, constructed, and delivered by ZGA; and recognised with the Houses Heritage Award in 2013. We were delighted with the outcome, and the owners are still ecstatic five years on. Read on for a recent Q+A with owners Sandy and Peter.

What do you feel was the benefit of using an Architect?

Complex issues were involved – installing a lift that serviced four levels, management of restricted site access, consideration of reduction of hot water usage, providing identifiers throughout the building for way finding, modifications to structure and any consequences – just to mention a few. This project definitely needed the services of an experienced architect!

Bespoke renovations often involve experimentation, research, risk and trust. Looking back, how well did we guide you and the project through these challenges?

As designers ourselves, we had high expectations and have learnt much from our experience. ZGA certainly exceeded our expectations in delivering ‘a premium product’.

Does the design solution (now realised as your house) achieve your brief and how your family lives?

In general – the ability to reconfigure the house to cope with visiting guests and the use of the ground floor as flexible/varied entertaining spaces.
In particular – the attention to detail. Daily use still gives us unexpected pleasure.

Why did you choose to use an Architect for your project?

This project required an architect who didn’t produce work from a folio of formulaic outcomes. What was required was an understanding and respect of a Heritage listed building. That said, it also required an approach with design ability – one to drag the building into the 21st century.

Is there anything that surprises you about the house that you didn’t expect?

It is a joy to live in the renovated spaces, and, if we were to go through the process again, we would not make any changes.

Are there any particular moments in the design process, or during construction, that stand out in your memory as pivotal moments?

The harmonious relationship and respect between builder and architect was a standout observation. This enabled a very satisfactory result for us, the client.

Do you think it was important to have an architect involved during construction?

Most definitely – to ensure construction and execution meet with design intentions.

What did we do well?

This was a very complex project, with very restricted site access and neighbours in very close proximity. ZGA managed the site, neighbours, client, builder and consultants very professionally. All neighbours are still very close friends due to the fact that there was little disturbance during the renovation process.

What could we do better?

Smile more.

Special thanks to Sandy and Peter for taking the time to discuss the project and answer some questions.