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  • Writer's pictureMelinda Rowe BA Hons MDIA

Project | Octagonal Pavilion Reno

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

The Challenge: The 70’s Octagonal Pavilion Renovation presented a new design challenge for RESONANT | designs for living as the eight-sided shape of the dwelling would initially suggest. But the challenge did not stop with the obvious form limitations, as an equally challenging issue was to be discovered within !

The roof was supported by eight centrally located load bearing posts that dominated the internal spaces and dictated original design decisions. The posts could not be removed. At this point of discovery I discussed with the clients the pros and cons of a completely new build versus retaining the existing structure.

It was decided the existing structure would be kept, so working with the angled perimeter walls, coupled with eight central posts, to create an open design that flowed seamlessly between zones, presented an inspiring challenge.

Before | Existing Octagonal Pavilion

The image above shows the existing Octagon Pavilion with the existing entrance to the right through a aluminium framed glass sliding door.

The image below shows the imposition of the structural post in the main bedroom, and emphasises how the existing design was driven by the octagonal shape in combination with the central posts, rather than true functionality for the clients.

There were four existing zones – a bathroom, a dressing room, a bedroom and a small study, all with angled walls or wedge spaces, some walls were constructed of brick, others a combination of timber stud and brickwork. Overall, the workmanship was very poor. The walls were not straight, the mortar uneven, and as the team literally dug deeper they found more issues with plumbing and electrical.

Nothing in the original build would have passed certification. This type discovery is quite common when renovating older places, no one knows what may be found until demolition commences, so the allowance of additional time in schedulling and funds is a always a great contingency plan.

Previous to the renovation, the octagonal pavilion was entered via an old double glass aluminum framed sliding door. From there, angled walls (that felt as though they were closing in around you), led into a darkened central octagonal shaped space – the four small rooms led off this space.

There was no clear flow through the existing dwelling, the whole design felt unresolved. The structural posts had to be avoided, while the bedroom faced in on itself and ignored the stunning coastal views completely.

The Bathroom wedge had a shower addition at some stage that literally poked into the dressing room next door ! The spaces felt claustrophobic in juxtaposition to sweeping coastal views just beyond the octagon’s perimeter that were totally ignored in the original design.

RESONANT’s design streamlined the entire space, opened up the pavilion with large glass stacker sliding doors to maximize the view with sliding stacker fly-screens to match, as the client was particularly susceptible to the biting insects of the northern rivers region. The master bed could then be positioned up against a flat wall welcoming in the expansive Ballina/Byron Bay coastline.

Demolition | the perimeter walls were also demolished after it was discovered their structural integrity was compromised

All the other major dividing walls in the new design where squared off, leaving only one tiny angled wall in the w.c.

The true success of this challenging design project was the introduction of a rhythm and flow throughout the pavilion with the streamlined spaces and the housing of all the structural posts within the new framework, not allowing the original octagonal shape/structure to dictate the form.

During | Construction

The fact that the project transformed from a 70's hippie nightmare, to a space that now emanates a luxé level of design, makes it difficult to perceive it is the same space. With a luxurious main bathroom, with double vanity, semi-recessed mirrored shaving cabinet, walk in shower, freestanding bath, feature tile wall, separate w.c., tiled niches with feature dimmable LED lighting, a grand main bedroom suite, dressing room and entrance.With all the light-filled, streamlined spaces brining in a sense and openness of indoor/outdoor living.

After | Luxé Main Bath

The clients were blown away by the transformation of the Octagonal Master Bedroom Suite. The expansive views now welcomed into the space with a flow between zones that was non-existent before RESONANT | designs for living became involved. The team worked tirelessly to present a final project to the client, where attention to detail in such a challenging re-build, was paramount.

Final note | for all design projects, as mentioned in the intro, it is prudent to discuss the pros and cons of the proposed build or renovation with the designer during the initial design development meeting to determine whether the project is a refurbishment, a renovation or a complete demolition and rebuild. Even if you feel your mind is made up, being open to new perspectives, just may save you both time and money in the long run.

Melinda Rowe of RESONANT | designs for living works with a team to deliver luxé and liveable designs for your home or office. Learn More about her services here.


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