In 2003, Collins and Turner were engaged to carry out the restoration of Bowles house, a 200+ year old convict built former post office at Gentlemans Halt.
The site is on a remote waterfront site, on the Hawkesbury River, 15 minutes by boat from Brooklyn. The remote location has no road access or mains services.
Externally, restoration works included the substantial restoration of stonework, a new roof, and works to balconies , external stairs and landscape. Following the restoration, the house was heritage listed with Hornsby Council.
Internally the house was largely reconstructed with new floors to the upper living level, and substantial reconstruction of all spaces. The renovation combines natural material such as stained blackbutt for floors, joinery fronts and custom furniture pieces with black iron to hearths and steel detailing, natural stone, and select details of stainless steel and white corian.
Challenges in the construction included managing the logistics of the remote location, with all construction access only by water. Local tradesman who were familiar with the waterways and tides carried out the construction.
The house is 100% off-grid. All power is generated via a roof-mounted photovoltaic installation. Low energy lighting and refrigeration are installed. The thermal mass of the building’s stone structure is used as primary method of cooling and heating. An absorption trench is used for waste and water management and all water captured from the roof and stored in storage tanks below the lower deck for re-use.
- Taylor Thompson Whitting
- Steve Penn and Mark Hughes