"Today we see suburbs full of bigger, grander houses with high fences and tiny backyards," says Gardener Architects. "In our opinion, these houses that foster a family life conducted primarily inside, miss the mark."
When the firm was approached by the owners of a California-style bungalow in Melbourne, the project team was struck by how the family of five know all of their neighbors and are active in the community. As a result, they came up with a plan to renovate the home so that it serves the way the family lives: connected to the neighborhood.
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Flexibility, practicality, comfort, and spaciousness were all in the brief, as well as natural connections to the oft-used backyard and the surrounding neighborhood. "In terms of this single residential project, a focus on community set foundations for a house to avoid being a primarily internalized experience," said the firm.
The first order of business was to break down old ideas of formal spaces versus informal spaces. "The entry to a Californian bungalow is typically through the formal front door," said the firm. "Moving away from this, we supplemented an additional entry off the side lane. The old idea of coming in the front door, where you find the ‘nice room’ that the children aren’t allowed in, that has the crystal cabinet and granny drinking sherry is broken down."
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Builder: Clancy Constructions
Structural Engineer: 4-Site Engineers
Mural Artist: Alex Scott Douglas