It Looks Like a Playland but This Home Works Hard

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By Luke Hopping and Dwell
A toddler, a pup, and their parents fit onto a 16.5-foot-wide plot in an inner suburb of Melbourne.

Many young parents must choose, agonizingly, between the convenience of the city or the spaciousness of the country. In Fitzroy North, an inner suburb of Melbourne, designer Dan Gayfer took on the seemingly impossible task of delivering both for a couple with a toddler and a dog. The location, a traditional terrace house on a narrow lot, posed serious physical limitations. But by carefully apportioning each square foot and prioritizing access to daylight, Gayfer realized an addition as vivacious as his clients. 


It Looks Like a Playland but This Home Works Hard - Photo 1 of 10 - The Scyon Axon cladding of this gabled Melbourne addition gleams at midday. Designer Dan Gayfer punctuated the facade with sliding glass doors and a row of windows to fill the narrow home with sunlight.   

The Scyon Axon cladding of this gabled Melbourne addition gleams at midday. Designer Dan Gayfer punctuated the facade with sliding glass doors and a row of windows to fill the narrow home with sunlight.   


It Looks Like a Playland but This Home Works Hard - Photo 2 of 10 - The concrete courtyard offers the family, who four months ago welcomed a daughter, the option to extend their living space outdoors.   

The concrete courtyard offers the family, who four months ago welcomed a daughter, the option to extend their living space outdoors.   


It Looks Like a Playland but This Home Works Hard - Photo 3 of 10 - The narrow kitchen is brightened by a soft material palette. A burnished concrete countertop flows like a waterfall into the Blackbutt timber flooring. The translucent blue Poly Pop pendant is by Tokenlights.   

The narrow kitchen is brightened by a soft material palette. A burnished concrete countertop flows like a waterfall into the Blackbutt timber flooring. The translucent blue Poly Pop pendant is by Tokenlights.   


It Looks Like a Playland but This Home Works Hard - Photo 4 of 10 - Each inch is accounted for in the 1,916-square-foot home. Cabinets and clever storage for wine are tucked under the stairs.   

Each inch is accounted for in the 1,916-square-foot home. Cabinets and clever storage for wine are tucked under the stairs.   


It Looks Like a Playland but This Home Works Hard - Photo 5 of 10 - Gayfer turned the home's greatest weakness, its compact size, into an advantage by encouraging interaction. Ledges, benches, and built-ins were placed tactically to promote conversation. The Errol sofa is by Jardan.   

Gayfer turned the home's greatest weakness, its compact size, into an advantage by encouraging interaction. Ledges, benches, and built-ins were placed tactically to promote conversation. The Errol sofa is by Jardan.   


It Looks Like a Playland but This Home Works Hard - Photo 6 of 10 - Upstairs, in a living room/office, a low built-in is upholstered in Purple Velvet by Warwick Fabrics.  

Upstairs, in a living room/office, a low built-in is upholstered in Purple Velvet by Warwick Fabrics.  


It Looks Like a Playland but This Home Works Hard - Photo 7 of 10 - Each of the home's bathrooms displays a different eye-catching shade of tile from Inax, such as baby blue.   

Each of the home's bathrooms displays a different eye-catching shade of tile from Inax, such as baby blue.   


It Looks Like a Playland but This Home Works Hard - Photo 8 of 10 - A second bathroom is clad in soft pink tile. All the matte-black fittings in the bathrooms and kitchen belong to the Yokato collection by Brodware.  

A second bathroom is clad in soft pink tile. All the matte-black fittings in the bathrooms and kitchen belong to the Yokato collection by Brodware.  


It Looks Like a Playland but This Home Works Hard - Photo 9 of 10 - A small roof terrace offers a second outdoor enclave for play.   

A small roof terrace offers a second outdoor enclave for play.   


It Looks Like a Playland but This Home Works Hard - Photo 10 of 10 - The unedited street-facing facade masks the home's rejuvenation and preserves the architectural continuity with its neighbors.   

The unedited street-facing facade masks the home's rejuvenation and preserves the architectural continuity with its neighbors.