A Cutting-Edge Addition Hides Behind a Victorian Cottage

By Anna Squier / Published by Dwell

Camouflaged in a conservative setting, this Melbourne home for a foodie family centers on a spacious kitchen with perforated screen paneling.

A growing family in Albert Park, an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia, needed a flexible home that could be zoned for different uses and remain adaptable for the future. BG Architecture designed a thoughtful plan that met the family’s requirements while respecting the historic neighborhood and existing street presence. At first glance, this charming cottage on a corner lot continues the rhythm and character of the traditional streetscape; upon closer inspection, a two-story addition full of light and contemporary details reveals itself.

From the front, this quaint Victorian cottage appears as it always has, hugging the street and alleyway. As you approach, a quiet addition is revealed beyond.

Photography by Michelle Williams

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The project is a significant renovation, keeping only one room at the front of the house, with the reconfiguration of the existing shell to include a bathroom, study, and living room. A central courtyard marks the extent of the original cottage, connected by a glazed walkway to the new addition, which includes the living areas, main family and kitchen areas, and master suite. 

The original cottage has been reimagined to incorporate a study area. A built-in wood desk, felt tack board, and contemporary Ligne Roset desk chair provide an ideal work area.

Photography by Michelle Williams

A seamless glass shower screen and matte black fixtures are contemporary additions to this sleek and simple bath. Custom wood cubbies and penny tile on both the walls and floor add a sense of playfulness and texture to the rehabbed bathroom. 

Photography by Michelle Williams

A central courtyard sits between the original cottage and the new addition.

Photography by Michelle Williams

Large sliding doors connect the main living and dining zones to the exterior courtyard. 

Photography by Michelle Williams

The interiors are bright and bold, decorated with the owners’ global art collection. With a professional chef in the family, the kitchen was an important part of the spatial and creative planning. The stainless-steel kitchen island, for example, has been designed for intimate cooking demonstrations. The stair lives within the kitchen and dining zone, acting as not only a unique design element, but kitchen support space as well.

The kitchen was designed to work best for the professional chef with a stainless-steel kitchen island, exposed decorative hood, and plentiful storage concealed behind operable perforated screens.

Photography by Michelle Williams

Sliding screens reveal additional kitchen prep and storage space.

Photography by Michelle Williams

No space goes unused in the kitchen, including the under-stair space. The perforated metal screens pull out to reveal additional storage.

Photography by Michelle Williams

Kitchen storage is maximized below the stairs and is revealed behind operable, perforated screens. Sliding panels and pull-out drawers conceal and hide away extra space. The new master suite and second living area with city views lies at the topof the stairs, quietly visible through the metal screen. 

The timber staircase is concealed behind perforated metal screens, with storage below.

Photography by Michelle Williams

Large windows frame city views from the master bedroom. 

Photography by Michelle Williams

Perforated metal screens connect design elements in the upstairs to the main floor below.  A built-in headboard provides clothes storage on one side, and nightstands on the other. 

Photography by Michelle Williams

Colorful penny tile in blues and greens decorates the floor in the master bath.  White penny tile wraps the walls, accented by a floating vanity and vessel sink. 

Photography by Michelle Williams

On the exterior, the material palette is intentionally left neutral to tie in with the surrounding character and to complement the palette of the original home. With a zero setback from the alleyway, privacy was of utmost concern and provided a unique design challenge for incorporating daylight. Glass blocks capture diffused light in the kitchen and laundry zones, while the upper level master suite receives refracted light through a perforated steel gable. 

Glass blocks are strategically placed to capture light while still providing necessary privacy along the public alleyway. 

Photography by Michelle Williams

The gabled roof form, wrapped in metal panels and perforated metal screens, appears to hover above a simple extension of the original house. 

Photography by Michelle Williams

 Roda's Orson Sunlounger and Double Pouf add a pop of color and provide the perfect seats to soak up the sunshine or enjoy the nighttime sky. 

Photography by Michelle Williams

Cozy and bright living spaces, modern details, and contemporary furnishings blend old with new in this revamped and extended historic cottage that embraces the past while engaging the future.

Related Reading: 9 Best Homes With Interesting Screened Facades 

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: BG Architecture / @bg_architecture

Builder / General Contractor: Green Aspect

Structural Engineer: BBD Engineering Pty Ltd

Civil Engineer: BBD Engineerig Pty Ltd

Interior Design: BG Architecture 

Cabinetry Design / Installation: Inner West Joinery 

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