A client approached the Merrylees Architecture with a wish to transform this Victorian brick home, situated on the main road, into a quiet family residence capable of accommodating the lifestyle of the occupants for many years to come. At the same time, clients wanted to retain the features of the original home wherever possible. However, the challenge was to introduce an abundance of natural light and create a more livable environment that performed well thermally year round.
By utilizing the functional layout and large proportions of the front rooms, spaces that were perfect for bedrooms, a study/den, and bathroom, there was minimal cost to resolve half of the brief which helped to keep the project on track with a limited budget. The addition of hydronic heating, carefully placed skylights and a small, concealed, ensuite pop-out for the main bedroom completed the internal transformation of the original house.
At the rear of the house was a series of lean-to additions, resulting in a dark and disjointed layout. The brief was to open up the back creating a bright, open plan living space, with ample storage and utility areas for day to day convenience. It was determined early on that a garage would compromise the integrity of the Victorian facade, so internal room and easy access from the driveway was essential. The design response was to create a second, distinctly modern entry off the street leading straight into a large mudroom with storage lockers for each family member, laundry and wine store. This space leads to the main living area, kitchen, dining and semi-open study nook directly off the lounge area. For a family with young children, this place is ideal for easily accessible toy storage and in later years a supervised study zone.
With both parents working from home regularly and two young children, the renovation and extension had to be practical and stand the test of time as they grew up. The clients wanted the new addition to have a strong connection to the original home they fell in love with while establishing a living zone directly linked to the garden and new pool. Early discussions about materiality lead to a combination of recycled red brick, black steel framed windows, blackened blackbutt, and black metal trims. Contemporary yet sustainable materials; solid and everlasting just like the original home.
The architects decided to strip back the old render and dull cream paint from the old facade and to reveal the original red bricks behind. They were in excellent condition and completely transformed the facade into its former glory while establishing a distinct connection between the new red brick contemporary addition and the original home. This unveiling of the original house’s red bricks was a standout moment during the construction phase as the architects and the client could see it suddenly coming together as one cohesive design.
Internally, the team wanted to create warmth and softness to contrast the hardy exterior material palette and establish a seamless transition between the old and new. Internal steel framed doors mark the transition threshold which is further enhanced with a floor finish change from timber to a hydronic heated, concrete slab. Soft blue and contrasting dark blue/grey tones were teamed up with light timber joinery to create an interior color palette that emanated a sense of calm and tranquility from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and the busy central road location.
Photography by Tom Ross