An Elegant Backyard Pavilion Lets an Australian Home Soak Up the Sun

An Elegant Backyard Pavilion Lets an Australian Home Soak Up the Sun

By Melissa Dalton
Moloney Architects fashions a brick-and-wood pavilion to bring light into a historic home in Victoria.

When Moloney Architects set about expanding and remodeling this 1863 church parsonage residence in Daylesford, Australia, the site constraints were two-fold. To start, the home resides in Daylesford’s central church precinct, and local restrictions prevented any new design from disturbing views of surrounding church buildings. Additionally, the home had a south-facing backyard—which meant a standard rear addition would not be as light and bright as the homeowners desired.

The original home was a parson’s residence built over 150 years ago that had undergone a series of small remodels in the eighties and nineties. This new intervention retained the exterior detail at the front and updated the paint scheme.

The firm’s solution to these site challenges was to compose three main components: a parsonage, a pavilion, and a gallery. The main house, or parsonage, was kept, and now hosts three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and in the former living spaces, a study and a partially enclosed dining terrace. 

In the parsonage volume, the floors are American oak with a black finish. An integrated desk designates a place to work from home.

At the rear of the lot, the firm installed a low-lying, white brick pavilion that faces back to the house. Full-height black steel windows capture much-needed sun, and the new volume forms a courtyard in between the buildings. The pavilion holds the main living spaces, a painting studio, and a sun deck.

A hallway with panels of floor-to-ceiling glass—the gallery—connects the two buildings. In this space, a hanging track and concrete plinth let the circulation corridor double as an art gallery for the homeowners.

A view toward the front of the house and the bedroom wing. The glass walls in the gallery define the passage into the main living spaces in the rear pavilion.

A view toward the living spaces in the pavilion, which includes the kitchen, dining room, and living room. The nine-foot-tall ceilings are clad in American oak, and the concrete plinth is intended for art display—but also works well for a record player. The floors are natural gray polished concrete slab with integrated hydronic heating.

Upon removing the ’90s remodel at the back corner of the original home, the architects discovered an opportunity to fashion a partially enclosed dining terrace for when the weather is too cool to sit outside.

"Previously, this part of the house was a 1990s laundry, powder room, bathroom, and higgledy-piggledy hallway. When we removed the 1990s interventions into the original building, we saw that the previous renovation work had created two large holes in the original structure," says architect Mick Moloney.

"Rather than patch these up, we’ve left them as marks of the last renovation to try to celebrate all eras in the building’s history. The openings have a practical use, as well—they allow the corner of the old house to open up to the light and connect to the landscape."

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The outdoor terrace room opens up to the backyard via large expanses of glass, and the fireplace warms diners on cooler evenings in the spring or fall.

The new brick-and-wood pavilion faces north for optimal sun exposure.

Glass panels in the hallway frame outdoor views and create an expansive sense of the property.

A wood pergola offers coverage while allowing light to filter inside.

Moloney Architects unified the home’s interior and exterior by strategically applying materials. The oak at the interior ceiling continues on the exterior, as does the white brick. The thin profile of the steel around the windows and doors completes the effect.

The timber screens outside can be rolled back and forth to control sun exposure, views, and privacy.

A pantry and painting studio are tucked behind the kitchen, which is outfitted with black granite counters and oak cabinetry.

"The height of the new extension has been kept low, while still keeping all interior spaces on one level," says the firm. "This approach led us to establish the project’s design identity in detail and materiality rather than in a ‘grand architectural gesture.’"

A bird’s-eye view of the new floor plan.

More From Moloney Architects:

A Bushland Home in Melbourne That's Divided Between Two Pavilions

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Moloney Architects / @moloneyarch

Builder: Hayden Bromley

Structural Engineer: Cardno / TGM

Interior Design: Moloney Architects

Cabinetry: Andrew Mann Joinery

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