A Renovated Melbourne Bungalow Keeps its Clapboard Character

Outside cladding continues inside this updated and extended bungalow, which now enjoys a breezy garden connection.

The owner of this heritage weatherboard bungalow in the suburbs of Melbourne is a builder who studied architectural history, so keeping the character and craftsmanship of the original building was very important to him.

Looking to renovate his family home to make it more spacious and better connected to the garden, he reached out to Michael Ong, director of local practice MODO Architecture, to help him carry out his wishes. 

The client had a strong connection with the original house, which, although in need of repair, still had good bones and was full of character.

Fully glazed sliding doors open to connect with the garden.

Ong led the project, called Outside In House, with two questions: "How do we restore a beautiful bungalow while preserving the sensibilities of the original?" and "How do we add a modern addition that can stand separate to the original while simultaneously acknowledging and respecting the original?" 

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An outdoor barbecue and sink near the garden makes for easy entertaining.

Towards the rear, a sensitive and compact extension was added.

As a response to these two questions, Ong and his team carefully restored the bungalow to return it to its original architectural style, and while doing so, introduced minor alterations that were designed to be gentle, neutral, and recessive. 

Irregular stone pavers lead to the outdoor grill.

From the front gate, the owner can walk through a side garden towards the glass doors of the extension.

They created a new, compact addition at the rear of the house to enlarge the property to approximately 2,432 square feet. This rear addition contains the new living areas and provides a strong connection to the garden at the back of the house. 

A new living lounge and dining area in the extension are awash in light. External cladding continues inside, uniting old and new spaces.

Modern interventions throughout are designed to be recessive to the original. 

A clear, glazed link acts as a boundary between the existing house and the extension, connecting the old weatherboard bungalow to the modern addition. 

"The glazed link acts as a formal break and allows the original exterior cladding to be restored and preserved internally," says Ong.  

An open-plan kitchen and dining area within the addition feature white cabinets.

A hallway in the original house connects the living room to a bathroom.

"One of the problems we see in larger homes, is that there is too much space, which sometimes results in families feeling a bit spread apart," says Ong. "We deliberately gave the living area a gentle squeeze, and by compressing the space, we are able to create an intimate and warm family living lounge. There is still plenty of space for kids to run off into their own space, but this design encourages incidental family bonding."

The kitchen in the new extension flows into the living lounge in the original house.

"By restoring and continuing the existing external cladding throughout, we are able respect the original structure by anchoring the new interior with the existing," says Ong.  

The bathroom is sleek and understated.

Project Credits: 

Architecture, interior, cabinetry, and lighting design: MODO Architecture / @modo_arch

Builder: Sargant Construction 

Structural engineering: Structural Bureau 

Landscape design: Amanda Oliver Garden 


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