A Compact Australian Bungalow Grows Grander With a Timber-Clad Addition
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A Compact Australian Bungalow Grows Grander With a Timber-Clad Addition

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By Anna Squier
A site-sensitive renovation expands a heritage Melbourne home while preserving its original charm.

When a young family of three set about revamping their bungalow in Melbourne, Australia, they sought to expand and modernize the layout without significantly increasing the overall footprint. They had already lovingly restored the front of the home, but they needed help for the spatial challenges ahead. Thus, they engaged Lisa Breeze Architects to help transform their compact heritage home into a practical and spacious dwelling for a growing family.

The home’s restored front facade stays true to the character of this Melbourne suburb.

The home is situated in the northern suburb of Coburg, which is composed mostly of standalone heritage houses built within the last 100 years. Both the firm and the homeowners wanted to respect the neighborhood’s original character in the new design. As they set about repurposing the existing spaces and introducing a small backyard addition, the architects paid homage to home’s historic details by referencing these elements in the new design.

The new addition is clad in timber. Its texture plays with shadow and depth much like traditional weatherboards.

The new addition, only visible from the backyard, echoes the gabled form of the original home. Large openings connect the main living spaces with the backyard.

The project began by converting existing rooms into new areas to resolve the floor plan predicament. The original living room was transformed into a full bathroom, a powder room, and a walk-through laundry room.

A full bathroom now fills part of the original living space. Dark Fiandre floor tiles contrast with a mix of bright white matte and gloss wall tiles. A Glo Ball wall sconce from Flos is the perfect playful addition to this modern bath.

A new powder room features simple, natural materials that tie in with the rest of the house—a wood counter, wood knobs, and neutral-hued Sugie mosaic tiles from Artedomus. 

A walk-through laundry rooms adds functionality with plentiful storage and a sink. The materials match those of the powder room, creating a cohesive flow between the two spaces.  

Built-in shoe cubbies provide necessary storage in the new walk-through laundry space. 

Next, the design team expanded the living spaces to provide an open plan suitable for family living. To do so, they constructed a small addition—which echoes the form of the existing home—at the rear of the structure. What were once small spaces are now bright and voluminous, with a direct connection to the backyard. 

Kitchen counter seating overlooks the new, grand living space with high ceilings and plentiful daylight. 

Simple joinery introduces contemporary details into the revamped kitchen space. 

The firm played with ceiling forms to create "spaces within spaces." New skylights bring diffused natural light into the center of the home.

The homeowners wanted to use recycled and natural materials wherever possible. The timber-clad addition joins the home at a recycled brick wall, which provides a backdrop to the main living space. Throughout the home, recycled timber flooring and custom timber details are balanced by tiles and wall finishes in natural hues.

The addition is clad in timber boards of various widths and depths, adding a subtle layer of texture to the simple, gabled form.

A recycled brick wall acts as the perfect backdrop to a custom media cabinet designed and built by Lisa Breeze.

"I appreciated the client’s desire to avoid excessive and unnecessary space. They invested in well-detailed and thoughtful smaller spaces and beautiful materials, preserving and respecting the heritage of the original home." —Lisa Breeze

A timber window seat is surrounded by secret storage cabinets, adding functionality to otherwise unused space. 

A Coco pendant from local designer Coco-Flip hangs above a wood dining table. The natural hues from the timber flooring and recycled brick blend with the warm furniture tones.  

Although the charming bungalow has been altered to suit a modern family, the true character of the heritage home still shines. According to the architect, this home was a true joy to work on—and she is now incorporating a similar design approach into her own home.

Related Reading:

A Cramped Bungalow Is Reborn as an Eco-Minded Abode For Two Gardeners

A Modest Midcentury Bungalow Takes on New Life in Sydney

A New Hip Roof Rejuvenates a California-Style Bungalow in Melbourne

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Lisa Breeze Architect / @lisabreeze_architect 

Builder/General Contractor: Neverstop Group

Structural Engineer/Civil Engineer: Structplan

Lighting Design: Lisa Breeze Architect

Interior Design: Lisa Breeze Architect

Cabinetry Design: Lisa Breeze Architect

Photographer: Caitlin Mills

Stylist: Natalie James

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