An Australian Home's Brick Addition Creates a Private Backyard Haven

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By Melissa Dalton
Inspired by the surrounding industrial neighborhood, a brick addition to a heritage cottage outside Melbourne creates a private backyard retreat.

For this remodel project in Abbotsford, a suburb of Melbourne, MAKE Architecture decided to work with the home's industrial surroundings. "The potential was for a house that offered all the qualities of domesticity, refuge, seclusion, and calm," describe the architects, "but that was bound by the unique characteristics of Abbotsford’s industrial history."

In order to extend a two-bedroom clapboard cottage and maximize the home's entire lot, the architects created a new kitchen and dining area in the north corner, then connected it to the existing house via a long corridor, which looks into a new, private courtyard. Then they wrapped the addition in white-and-charcoal perforated brick, in a material nod to the neighborhood's nearby brick factories, businesses, and warehouses.

A view of the new eastern-facing front door. "At the second level, brickwork gradually opens up to become a perforated brick screen for the roof top deck," explain the architects.

A view of the new eastern-facing front door. "At the second level, brickwork gradually opens up to become a perforated brick screen for the roof top deck," explain the architects.

"Stitching the existing white weatherboard cottage into its more robust industrial surrounds, the new addition uses brick work painted white at the first level to connect to the white weatherboard and then black at the top level to engage with the local industrial precinct," say the architects.

"Stitching the existing white weatherboard cottage into its more robust industrial surrounds, the new addition uses brick work painted white at the first level to connect to the white weatherboard and then black at the top level to engage with the local industrial precinct," say the architects.

On the western side of the home, the brick addition becomes sinuous to carve out leisure spaces in a new private courtyard, which is entirely enclosed by a white brick boundary wall. Large openings to the interior ensure seamless indoor/outdoor flow for the homeowners.

On the western side of the home, the brick addition becomes sinuous to carve out leisure spaces in a new private courtyard, which is entirely enclosed by a white brick boundary wall. Large openings to the interior ensure seamless indoor/outdoor flow for the homeowners.

In this view, one can see how the curved addition makes space for an outdoor seating area with a fire pit, and eventually meets the clapboard form of the original house.

In this view, one can see how the curved addition makes space for an outdoor seating area with a fire pit, and eventually meets the clapboard form of the original house.

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The architects located a new kitchen and dining space in the northern part of the addition. A curving corridor connects the original house to the new kitchen and dining space. Expansive openings in the hallway look into the new enclosed courtyard.

The architects located a new kitchen and dining space in the northern part of the addition. A curving corridor connects the original house to the new kitchen and dining space. Expansive openings in the hallway look into the new enclosed courtyard.

The connecting corridor, or circulation spine, uses built-ins to create space for various activities, such as a family study, a music spot, and reading nooks.

The connecting corridor, or circulation spine, uses built-ins to create space for various activities, such as a family study, a music spot, and reading nooks.

In the new kitchen, oak timber veneer joinery unites concrete floors and counters.

In the new kitchen, oak timber veneer joinery unites concrete floors and counters.

A steel mesh balustrade lines the stairway, which leads to the rooftop deck.

A steel mesh balustrade lines the stairway, which leads to the rooftop deck.

In the bathroom, the color scheme for the penny tiles reflects the exterior palette for continuity.

In the bathroom, the color scheme for the penny tiles reflects the exterior palette for continuity.

The architects made space for a petite pool in the new private courtyard, with a glimpse of the surrounding industrial buildings in the background.

The architects made space for a petite pool in the new private courtyard, with a glimpse of the surrounding industrial buildings in the background.

In contrast to the industrial neighborhood, the views from the upper-level deck look directly into the canopies of surrounding established trees.

In contrast to the industrial neighborhood, the views from the upper-level deck look directly into the canopies of surrounding established trees.

Project Credits:

Architecture and Interior Design: MAKE Architecture

Builder: Basis Builders

Structural Engineer: Hive Engineering

Landscape Design: MAKE Architecture with Tim Nicholas