A fabulous Japanese-style extension has transformed this Australian period home

Set high above the Derwent river in Tasmania, this amazing home with its wow factor timber extension is truly one of a kind

balcony with bamboo sofa and sidetable and view
(Image credit: Marnie Hawson)

Growing up, this house was a huge part of my life,’ says Jack Young, now a crown prosecutor in Hobart. ‘The house was owned by my late godfather, Stephen, and I would stay here on the Fridays when my parents had to set up their Saturday market stall in Hobart. It holds many nostalgic memories: happy times as a child, followed by emotional years, when Stephen was poorly. When he died, I decided to take on the property as a weekend-escape-meets-boutique rental. I love that with Georgina, my wife, we have been able to preserve and share Stephen’s legacy.’

Located in Glebe, a suburb of Hobart, the house, now one of the world's best homes, sits on the edge of the Queens Domain – a vast area of urban parkland and native bush that’s just a short walk to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, a popular destination with walkers, cyclists and runners. As you drive up, a veranda wraps around the exterior of what appears to be a modest, Federation-era home. Step inside, though, and you are greeted by a spectacular, Japanese-inspired extension that unfolds at the rear. With curved wooden ceilings, exposed Tasmanian timbers, skylights and full-height windows on three sides, the contrast to the unassuming period frontage is particularly striking. 

The views overlooking Mount Wellington, the city of Hobart and the Derwent river are among the best in the area. ‘Following a fire, which destroyed the back of the house in the late 1990s, Stephen added this extension, designed by his friend, architect James Jones,’ says Jack. ‘I grew up in the Huon Valley, south of Hobart, in a very simple house. My parents lived a somewhat hippy existence and stays at my godfather’s home felt sophisticated. He was a producer on the ABC nightly news and his home was always alive with parties and delicious food. It left a lasting impression,’ says Jack. 

Sadly, difficulties with contractors and poor health meant that some of the work had been left uncompleted. ‘Large sliding doors opened up to a three-metre drop and the balconies had never been added,’ says Jack. ‘When Stephen died in 2019, we decided to finish what he had begun.’ 

Overwhelmed with ideas, Georgina, a town planner, enlisted the help of interior stylists Belle Hemming and Lynda Gardener to help realise the potential of both layout and finish.

Kitchen

wooden kitchen with green tiled splashback, barstools and black pendant lights

(Image credit: Marnie Hawson)

Kitchen ideas include juxtaposing a rich wood kitchen with contemporary fittings such as a granite sink, modern hardware and a stylish glossy green tiled backsplash. There are inviting areas to eat and relax. Paneling the ceiling has enhanced the look of the polished wooden cabinetry.

Living area

wooden extension with living area with neutral sofa, round coffee table and wooden kitchen island with bar stools

(Image credit: Marnie Hawson)

This space has full-height windows on three sides yet still feels like an intimate retreat with its timber structure and textural elements

wooden extension with woodburner

(Image credit: Marnie Hawson)

A woodburning stove ensures the space is always cozy.

Snug

living room with blue walls, dark blue chairs and blue sofa

(Image credit: Marnie Hawson)

A second living area in the Federation-era part of the house was turned into a snug for entertaining. Living room ideas revolve around creating a luxurious space with heavy linen curtains, velvet seating and a floral wallpaper that creates a decorative backdrop for a collection of mirrors and artwork. ‘We gave Belle and Lynda free rein and trusted them to do justice to this beautiful space,’ says Jack.

Entryway

white hallway with door with stained glass windows, white pendant light and wooden floor

(Image credit: Marnie Hawson)

So that all of the focus is on the door's original stained glass windows, hallway ideas include keeping the decoration minimal with white walls and wooden flooring . 

Main bedroom

bedroom with dark blue walls, shelving, neutral headboard and cushions

(Image credit: Marnie Hawson)

The bedrooms have been painted in earthy shades of green and blue and dressed with covetable art and unique decorative finds.

Bedroom ideas include extending the panelling behind the bed in the main bedroom to create more storage space.

bedroom with dark blue walls, limewashed chest of drawers and neutral rug

(Image credit: Marnie Hawson)

Space-saving sliding doors connect to the adjoining en suite.

En suite

bathroom with dark green walls, white tile splashback, white basin and black mirror

(Image credit: Marnie Hawson)

Bathroom ideas include creating a dramatic scheme in the ensuite with dark hued walls contrasting with a backsplash of white glazed tiles. The glazed tiles have a lovely patina that adds a characterful note.

Bedroom

bedroom with black wrought iron bed and blue gray walls

(Image credit: Marnie Hawson)

At night, the drawn curtains provide a sumptuous background.

To rent this property, visit Seaview 

Styling/ Belle Hemming and Lynda Gardener

Photography/ Marnie Hawson

Text/ Ali Heath

Vivienne Ayers
Vivienne Ayers

Interiors have always been Vivienne's passion – from bold and bright to Scandi white. After studying at Leeds University, she worked at the Financial Times, before moving to Radio Times. She did an interior design course and then worked for Homes & Gardens, Country Living and House Beautiful. Vivienne’s always enjoyed reader homes and loves to spot a house she knows is perfect for a magazine (she has even knocked on the doors of houses with curb appeal!), so she became a houses editor, commissioning reader homes, writing features and styling and art directing photo shoots. She worked on Country Homes & Interiors for 15 years, before returning to Homes & Gardens as houses editor four years ago.