Little Big House is the result of a collaboration with a wonderful client and creative team. The result is a welcoming and playful home, designed to suit both the big people and the little people in the family.
The architecture is broken up into a series of interlocking blocks, stepping down the hillside and each accommodating a different function. We used variations in colour and texture to further define these zones, creating contrast between the busy shared areas and the quiet, relaxed private spaces.
The main dining room and kitchen is a large, double height space. It is flooded with natural light and has an impressive view of the back yard and parkland beyond. The sense of volume and connection with the garden is further accentuated with large sliding doors opening onto the deck. The scale of this space is contrasted by a timber play nook under the stairs, including integrated hatches for toy storage.
Sitting comfortably with the bigger scale of the house, the family lounge and master suite are smaller and more intimate. They use a material palette of deep blues, grey and dark timber to soften the architecture and contain and frame the beautiful leafy views.
Architectural Concepts: Sarah May
Architectural Drafting: Jeff Hilt
Builder: Grandway Homes
Styling: Beck Simon
Photos: Tess Kelly
Meow house sits within the existing footprint of a 1960s building to provide an updated, inviting family home without reducing the outdoor area. We completely replanned the existing warren of small rooms, creating a layout that suits the needs of a young family including a shift-worker and two indoor cats.
Built by an owner builder in the 1960s, the original orange brick building was affectionately described by our client as an ugly duckling. It had some quirky details that they loved but the house was in disrepair and didn’t suit their needs. Our brief was to design a home that allowed for family gatherings, ensured shift-work hours were not disruptive, included space for books and hidey-holes for the cats.
Without demolishing or extending the building we were able to completely alter the sense of what this home is and how it feels to occupy.
The design relocated services areas originally at the back of the house to the south of the building, giving clear access to natural light and the backyard. This new space has been carefully zoned using open shelving to provide interconnected living areas. An oversized central glass door allows the family to close the living space off from the cats and move freely between inside and outside. When in the space, the cats have a highlight window ledge to sun themselves and watch the yard. The ledge is accessed through a cupboard hidden in the kitchen joinery.
The cues taken from existing materiality led to the incorporation of terrazzo, brass, terracotta, and a range of pastel colours. These have been re-imagined and incorporated in new ways to create a design that sits comfortably alongside the original and provides surprising moments throughout the house.
We have used design detailing, materiality and texture to add a tangible sense of the hand-made nature of the house. The objective was not to perfect the imperfect old house, but to find and accentuate its charm to create a distinctive, warm family home.
Our Garden House adapts and reinvigorates a dark and inward facing brick bungalow to create a bright and functional family home. Our brief was to accommodate the family’s changing needs as their daughters grew older. We were asked to provide space for the girls to hang out, room for our client to work without disturbing the family and spaces for family and friends to come together.
The original house has been renovated and reworked using its inherent solidity and darkness to create gentle, calm and enclosed private spaces. These contrast with the bright and open shared spaces of the new pavilion, which is as much a part of the garden as it is the house. The strong exterior connection sees the light and atmosphere of the rooms shift through the day, creating ever-changing moments of delight and picking up the natural properties of the interior finishes.
We chose to treat the existing heritage listed house lightly by creating a simple, separate living pavilion in the garden. The new addition has a single interaction with the old, through a glass link hallway, accentuating the sense of stepping out of the old building and into the new. By separating the pavilion from the orientation of the house we were also able to maximise exposure to the garden and northern sunlight.
Materiality for the project is inspired by the original brick and timber construction but differs in colour selection to differentiate old from new. The restrained palette is a backdrop to the lives of the client and the beautiful plants inside and outside the building.
The design relies on subtle texture, careful material choices and a complete integration of interior design and architecture to create a sense of balance between all its elements. While the building is visually calm and simple, careful use of spatial volume, natural light, materiality, and beautiful craftsmanship provide a tactile and engaging home.
This design is quiet, restrained and responds to the needs of our clients. It envelops the rituals of their lives and has prompted new ones, such as the girls spending summer evenings together on their back deck.
The second of two, neighbouring post-war weatherboard houses renovated in Brunswick East.
Like Next Door House 1, this project remains within the original 90 square meter footprint in order to retain the large backyard spaces. To successfully house a family of four, it relies on an inventive use of space, the introduction of natural light and careful design detailing to create a beautiful family home.
The original house was built in the late 1940’s but was finished with many 1920’s architectural details. We took inspiration from these details and the austerity era of the house, using a combination of traditional construction methods and highly crafted details. While many of the original architectural elements of the two houses are the same, contrasting design details, materials and colours have been used to give each it’s individual personality.
Being on a steep, sloping block, the back of the house sits around 1.4m above ground level, reducing the sense of connection to the outdoor spaces. We have countered this sense of enclosure by providing large windows in the kitchen and looking beyond the back of the house for the opportunity to engage with the garden.
The main bedroom at the front of the house is at ground level so we used this as one opportunity for an exterior connection. We designed the front yard as a private courtyard garden. Double glass doors give direct access to the garden as well as ample natural light and an extended sense of space.
Starting with the existing, dark semi-detached house on a small block, a flipped floorplan allows for a bright and open raised, kitchen, lounge and outdoor terrace. The more enclosed ground floor houses bedrooms, bathrooms and service spaces.
We worked with Bancroft and Malone Architects to create a new centrally located front door leading into a dramatic double height foyer. The exposed original brick wall in the entry highlights the point where the original house and the new structure meet.
The roofline is designed to include three distinct folded layers, peeling back to provide openings for skylights and windows creating a beautiful bright living space and illuminated the central stair well. The large skylight over the stairs transforms the usually dark middle of the house into an open space, flooded with light from above.
The upper level kitchen opens onto an entertaining deck and a second skylight provides a light and bright living space.
The central island maximised the functionality of the kitchen and provide a robust base for the integrated dining table. This combination of textures in the central marble and timber contrast and soften the minimal cabinetry on either side.
Architecture: Bancroft and Malone
Styling: Maike Design Studio
Photos: Tatjana Plitt
The single fronted terrace is a much loved but problematic Melbourne housing style. The design of this house was created to emphasise natural light and give a greater sense of space to a small, narrow footprint.
Housing a young family, this house has to work hard to accommodate all of the ‘stuff’ of every day life. Rather than relegate them to a dark corner, services spaces were hidden in plain sight all over the house, from the laundry under the stairs to the storage between the deep skylight voids.
The narrow entry hallway and period detailing of the terrace house sit in contrast with the raised ceiling and clean lines of the new addition.
Using a neutral colour pallet through formed a perfect backdrop for strong accents of deep teal and timber. The colours and textures transition from light and bright in the shared family spaces through to soft and warm in the sleeping and retreat areas.
Architecture: Bancroft and Malone
Styling: Studio Moore
Photos: Eve Wilson
The first of two neighbouring post-war weatherboard houses renovated in Brunswick East.
Understanding the architectural delight and the historical context of these austerity houses has informed the design and led to value being placed on efficient footprint and layout. The designs celebrate the intrinsic properties of materials, finding a balance between the use of hand crafted details and conventional construction methods.
The original floorplan of the house included a toilet visible from the front entry door. Without moving the location of the bathroom, the layout was updated to provide a space that was private, calm and unique. The entry into the bathroom is both concealed and celebrated by custom timber joinery. The joinery is detailed so the door is fully hidden as part of a textured timber wall when closed and a deep timber portal frames the entry when open.
The visual connection between the main living spaces and adjacent courtyard garden extend the sense of space beyond the physical enclosure of the rooms. These spaces can be used as one large communal area for the family to gather or separated off for individual use.