A Melbourne Home Is Treated to a Striking Barn–Like Extension

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Reclaimed materials, natural light, and minimalist design come together to create a warm, textured space that encourages nesting.

Located in the inner Melbourne suburb of Albert Park, this 1,570-square-foot extension has been beautifully designed by local studio Whiting Architects, and includes a slate roof, four main rooms, and a central corridor. Part of an existing home known as the Kerferd Place, the new addition serves as a self-contained retreat for the parents.

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"We liked the idea of capturing the informality of a holiday place—nothing precious, all simple and practical," explain the architects.

"We liked the idea of capturing the informality of a holiday place—nothing precious, all simple and practical," explain the architects.

With only a small budget to work with, the architects had to cleverly find ways to create a practical, efficient, and striking retreat within an already existing home. 

The team wanted the layout to be as simple and open as possible, so they configured the space in such a way that private areas would be shielded from view, meaning the only door required was in the ensuite bathroom.

Recycled and repurposed items, such as salvaged bricks and a stainless steel bench from a commercial kitchen, have been used to create a low maintenance and sustainable home.

Recycled and repurposed items, such as salvaged bricks and a stainless steel bench from a commercial kitchen, have been used to create a low maintenance and sustainable home.

The two-story, gabled addition has been built with recycled bricks and corrugated cladding."It is a utilitarian building—like a workshop or a barn—conceived out of need rather than design," notes Steven Whiting, the studio’s founder. 

The ground floor consists of a large living room, dining area, and kitchen.

The ground floor consists of a large living room, dining area, and kitchen.

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A fridge, laundry area, and office desk are incorporated into the butler’s pantry.

A fridge, laundry area, and office desk are incorporated into the butler’s pantry.

The architects have added cement cladding with aluminum-framed windows above and besides an existing brick wall to create a framework with a stable base and a lightweight upper section.

The architects have added cement cladding with aluminum-framed windows above and besides an existing brick wall to create a framework with a stable base and a lightweight upper section.

Some of the interior walls have been lined with plywood and painted white to complement the white-painted bricks.  

Some of the interior walls have been lined with plywood and painted white to complement the white-painted bricks.  

The master bedroom and a study are located on the upper floor.

The master bedroom and a study are located on the upper floor.

Designed with a simple floor plan, the doors and corridors were kept to a minimum, and rooms were strategically located to ensure privacy. Intimate seating nooks interspersed throughout the house offer pockets of private spaces for rest and retreat. 

Designed with a simple floor plan, the doors and corridors were kept to a minimum, and rooms were strategically located to ensure privacy. Intimate seating nooks interspersed throughout the house offer pockets of private spaces for rest and retreat. 

The innovative conceptual framework draws in plenty of natural light, and results in a seamless connection between different parts of the house. The wardrobe in the bedroom is hidden behind the bedhead box. 

The innovative conceptual framework draws in plenty of natural light, and results in a seamless connection between different parts of the house. The wardrobe in the bedroom is hidden behind the bedhead box. 

The only door in the addition is a repurposed stable door in the ensuite bathroom, which has a freestanding bathtub and monochromatic tiles. 

The only door in the addition is a repurposed stable door in the ensuite bathroom, which has a freestanding bathtub and monochromatic tiles. 

Furniture, decor, and artwork were kept to a minimum and carefully chosen to complement the pure and practical theme of the retreat. For instance, a transitional space with a window box daybed was created adjacent to the master bedroom as a buffer between the public and private areas, so a bedroom door wasn’t needed.

Furniture, decor, and artwork were kept to a minimum and carefully chosen to complement the pure and practical theme of the retreat. For instance, a transitional space with a window box daybed was created adjacent to the master bedroom as a buffer between the public and private areas, so a bedroom door wasn’t needed.

The kitchen and dining area are located on the lower level.

The kitchen and dining area are located on the lower level.

A drawing of the floor plan.

A drawing of the floor plan.

Project Credits: 

Architecture: Whiting Architects 

Interior design: Carol Whiting

Builders: Latrobe Building Services 

Structural engineering: John Gardener and Associates 

Photography: Sharyn Cairns Photography 

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