Thanks to a Double-Height Dining Room, a Melbourne Home Basks in Sunshine and Courtyard Views

By cullen ormond / Published by Dwell
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Andrew Child Architect raises the ceiling—and the bar—for a couple’s South Yarra residence and detached guesthouse.

Situated in South Yarra, a vibrant, artsy suburb in Melbourne, this single-story Victorian and backyard guesthouse were previously a student rental. Both the homes had solid bones, but the rear house had lackluster aesthetics, which prompted the homeowners to call on Andrew Child Architect. 

The couple wanted to update the rear house and create a more harmonious flow between the two spaces. Soon to be empty nesters, they wanted their adult children to feel close when they visited. To this end, a walled courtyard now connects the two structures.

Void above Dining space

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The couple also wanted more light, higher ceilings, views of the backyard garden, and a designated office—all while keeping the costs low. Principal Andrew Child was able to deliver on all of those requests with one key decision.

"We wanted to break up these low ceiling heights in some way and better open the house to the rear garden," Child says. "By removing an upper-level bedroom and creating a void, or double-height space, above the dining area, we were able to achieve both of these things." 

Void above Dining space

Living space

A large window and sliding glass door on one side allow garden views and sunshine to permeate the open-plan dining and living areas. To contrast the starkness of the white brick exterior, black metal frames the glass.

Void above Dining space

Overlooking the double-height common areas is a new office nook. "I particularly like the neat little desk space above the kitchen," Child says. "It has a great outlook over the dining space and rear yard into the trees of the neighboring properties beyond." 

Being strategic with the budget, Child updated the most impactful items:  "The brass tapware, elegant bathroom fittings, and marble kitchen benchtop were selected to provide moments of delight throughout." The floors and joinery are crafted from wide planks of natural timber and provide warmth within the home. 

Dining space thru to rear garden

Void above Dining space

Void above Dining space with Study above

Kitchen box-bay window

Study space overlooking void above dining space

Study space

Ensuite vanity wall

Ensuite vanity wall

Ensuite entry


rear outdoor space

rear outdoor space

Hall thru to rear

Sitting room

Sitting room joinery detail

Front Victorian porch

Related Reading:

Soak In the Greatness of This Gorgeous Melbourne Addition

An Earthy Makeover Warms an Edwardian Home in Melbourne

An Inventive Melbourne Remodel Greets the Street With a New Garden

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Andrew Child Architect / @andrewchildarchitecture

Builder/General Contractor: Stage 2 Constructions

Structural Engineer: Stantin Consulting 

Landscape Design: Eugene Gilligan Garden Design / @eugenegilligandesign

Photography: Tatjana Plitt / @tatjanaplitt

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