This single-family Edwardian residence is one of many historic dwellings which add to the rich and diverse streetscape of the Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick. Embracing the neighborhood’s unique spirit, the homeowners worked with Wellard Architects to expand their home while respecting its original character.
The project description originally called for a double-story extension. However, after analyzing the family of four’s current use of space, the architects proposed a new program: a single-story extension that pushed the boundaries out at ground level rather than up, resulting in private, usable rear garden space and open, north-facing living areas.
According to the architects, "Changing the nature of the extension allowed funds set aside for the two-story design to be repurposed for finish and detail. This is a far more positive outcome for the client, as the tactile and refined elements of the project add pleasure in the everyday use of the home."
The single-story extension relocated the main living spaces to the rear of the home while organizing bedrooms and privates areas in the front of the home.
Wellard Architects preserved the existing home’s original Edwardian details—such as the fireplace in the en suite and the existing chimney. The firm sought to interfere with the existing building as little as possible while rejuvenating all of its rooms—a challenging, yet rewarding task. Injected with light and modern details, the result enhances rather than detracts from the home’s unique heritage.
Continuous pathways lead from the bedroom quarters to the social living spaces. A new floor-to-ceiling window at the end of the extended entrance corridor defines the threshold of old and new with views to the rear garden and sparkling lap pool.
The lap pool, an unexpected bonus due to the shift in design thinking, is now a key focal point visible from all areas, inside and out. As stated by the architects, "Water is a key element, and is visible from several vantage points. Reflected light bounces and sways off walls and ceilings, drawing you to the pool and ultimately into the new wing, where the focal points, at opposite ends, are the fireplace and kitchen, with materials of brick and stone, respectively balancing each other."
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The original chimney, which previously marked the rear facade of the home, continues the transition between old and new. Beyond it, free-flowing living spaces open to a welcoming and private outdoor space with a north-facing orientation. Dining, living, and cooking activities blend together in a warm and inviting space that opens directly to the outdoors.
The reorientation of the plan has increased the livable area for the homeowners. According to the architects, "The introduction of new internal and external zones has changed the way our clients occupy their home. Flowing spaces link seamlessly to the outdoors. Opportunities to entertain have been increased and made easier."
Overall, the design is stripped of nonessential elements and organized around delicate and refined details. A tactile palette of bluestone, brick, and pale oak creates a warm and durable home that will suit this growing family of four for many years to come.
Builder/General Contractor: Dimpat
Structural Engineer: Clive Steel Partners
Interior Design: Wellard Architects
Cabinetry Design/Installation: Mason Cabinets
Stylist: Bek Sheppard
Furniture Design - Dining Table: Made By Morgan
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