A first-time owner-builder masterfully crafts a home for a family of six in Melbourne, Australia.
Working with a first-time owner-builder can be challenging, but Melbourne architect Melanie Beynon had no reservations when she started collaborating with the new owners of a Northcote Edwardian home.
"The clients’ attention to detail was second to none," says Beynon of the couple, one of whom was her husband’s former bass guitar teacher. "They handpicked the timbers for the build and worked with trades that were willing to teach and guide them. They took the design and documentation, and made the best of it with execution."
The clients had purchased the Edwardian in a Melbourne suburb with the intent of renovating and expanding the building to better suit their young family of six.
Guided by the family’s desire for an abundance of natural light and acoustic isolation, the design team organized the house into two zones—one for adults and the other for the children—located on opposite ends of the house. The areas are joined in the middle by a central living space.
Located in the new rear extension, the family living room is bathed in daylight from large glass sliders that open up to a south-facing courtyard with a raised deck. The clients’ passion for unique craftsmanship and dedication to detail shines in this voluminous and tactile room, where exposed Tasmanian Oak panels wrap the walls and pitched ceiling, while handmade elements lend warmth to the minimally dressed interiors.
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"The tactile detailing extends to the exterior of the house, which features a sawtooth roofline, raw cedar shingles, and shiplap cladding on the walls," say the architects. "These timber elements will silver in time, allowing the new extension to settle into its surroundings."
The 3,230-square-foot, five-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath project took a year to complete—six months for the design phase and an additional six for construction—at a cost of $600,000 AUD (about $437,000 USD). In addition to doing much of the labor themselves, the homeowners managed to reduce costs by sourcing recycled materials, salvaging elements from the original structure, and working directly with some timber mills rather than going through a local supplier.
"Their unique craftsmanship, material choices, and dedication to detail resulted in a masterful design that feels generous and warm throughout," say the architects.