The homeowners of a terrace house in the Melbourne suburb of North Fitzroy were preparing to renovate and extend their historic home when the house next door came on the market. What ensued was an unconventional—but thoroughly logical—project which combined two properties into a distinctive home and garden for a family of five.
The adjacent home for sale was structurally unsound, calling to be demolished. However, a heritage overlay dictated that the street frontages of the two properties needed to remain intact. It was then Austin Maynard Architects’ task to create a playful family home which would combine the fronts of the two pre-existing terrace homes.
RaeRae House makes an impactful first impression with a jagged roofline, much unlike its neighbors. According to the architects, "Initially it looks to be a fanciful design, an architectural mountain range, but at its core, the house is responsive and strategic." The RaeRae House is just that: contextual and reactive in both exterior and interior elements that blend adult- and child-centric living with a garden escape.
All elements of the home emerged from careful planning, including the roof, which was a direct reaction to surrounding conditions. "In creating height in all the areas, both internally and externally, the mountain profile emerged," say the architects. The roofline is low against adjacent gardens to avoid overshadowing, and in contrast high where neighbors are close to the property line.
Exterior brickwork blends with timber-framed openings and crafted metal awnings. Per the architects, "It is a strategic way of thinking about structure which ensures budgets are met, yet also leads to a diverse aesthetic."
Inside, flexible rooms and hidden sliding doors allow the clients to partition off spaces to be intimate and secluded, or open them up to be communal and free-flowing. "The occupants can be engaged and connected, or alone and private," say the architects. "They have ‘both/and,’ not ‘either/or.’"
A glazed entry, set back between the two historic fronts, unites the two and forms the entrance to the new family home. A lounge, kitchen, and dining room are present upon entry. Beyond the dining room is a two-story kids zone, known as the "Rumpus Room," with three bedrooms and a bathroom accessed via a spiral stair
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Above the kitchen is the parents’ bedroom with a walk-in closet and en-suite. Instead of the usual request for a quiet hideaway, the homeowners requested the master suite be at the very center of the house. Here, the parents have the opportunity to engage with the activity below or retreat to a private suite by closing large sliding doors.
The floor plan opens to the public spaces. Large openings and windows engage with the public street, neighbors, and central garden. The orientation of the home along the southern boundary maximizes passive solar gain, ensuring a sunny garden with minimal shadows.
RaeRae House is a playful family home which pairs rational thinking with inventive solutions to blend old and new into a single dwelling with lots of character.
More by Austin Maynard Architects:
Builder / General Contractor: Overend Construction
Structural Engineer: Co-Struct
Civil Engineer: Co-Struct
Landscape Design Company: Elarc Landscape Design Pty Ltd
Interior Design: Augie Interiors
Other Company: Efficient Energy Choices
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