This project located in Brunswick, Melbourne started when the clients Liz and Ian decided they’d like to restore the worn-out terrace house that their daughter and her friends were living in. The project moved beyond an investment opportunity, holding the intention to create a comfortable, sustainable home prioritising longevity. The house is in a great area of Brunswick, close to cafes, transport and parks. It has a childcare centre to one side and a two-storey large red brick dwelling on the other. The site is small, long and narrow. Due to these neighbours, the house felt quite crammed in on both sides. The site still held opportunity though the building was in a very poor state.

Our small site with large neighbours to both sides

Fortunately, there are a lot of recreation facilities in the inner north of Melbourne. This has been brought into consideration in a few of our projects in the area where we’ve identified that the site doesn’t necessarily need a big backyard. If appropriate, we opt to provide smaller, efficient outdoor spaces that creates more opportunity on small sites. This often allows for a reduced area on the upper level which in turn lowers building costs.

The existing house consisted of two rooms at the front of the house. Down the hall was a semi open plan kitchen, living and dining area that had two distinct areas that made the space awkward and difficult to furnish. The back of the house consisted of a typical lean-to extension that housed a small room, bathroom and laundry in a very dilapidated state. We’ve often recalled our first site visit when we lifted the timber floorboards in the back room and found that the undersized floor joists were sitting straight onto the soil below.

Existing floor plan

Due to no heritage overlay on the site, a range of possible schemes were assessed. The exploration resulted in the sub-standard section of the house being demolished. The front two rooms and hall that held the vernacular cottage aesthetic of the area, were deemed important to retain. Keeping the front of the house, along with being a more sustainable approach, felt like a more sensitive response to the street frontage. Numerous heritage facades in the area have been lost as new developments replace the traditional style single dwellings.

Posted on September 12, 2018 by Gardiner Architects in Uncategorized