After a young family of four purchased a historic brick bungalow in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn East, they suddenly noticed one drawback: the rear extension.
While the existing home was in great condition, the extension, which was added to the property in the 1970s, had an awkward layout and poor connection to the garden. So, they tapped MODO Architecture (Michael Ong Design Office) for help.
"Once in the garden, the constraint of the site geometry became apparent. The triangular block compressed toward the back formed a rather narrow garden, which was made tighter with a large stand-alone shed," says architect Michael Ong, the founder of the firm.
The team demolished the old extension and transformed the property into a bright and open 2,690-square-foot residence.
"A common misconception in real estate is ‘bigger is better.’ Here, we challenge this notion by designing a house that’s smaller than the original dwelling, but that provides more function and vitality," notes Ong.
"Through a thoughtful and analytical design process, we were able to make every space work efficiently and effectively, while maintaining flexibility for the growing needs of a young family of four."
After removing the extension and opening up the northern facade, the architects have been able to flood the existing interior spaces with much more air and natural light, making the living areas feel more expansive and functional. They also focused on the finer details, such as material selection, construction method, integrated joinery, and lighting.
Shop the Look
"Rather then simply adding more to the original house, we looked at what we could do within the original and asked ourselves, ‘how much space is actually needed to fulfill the functions of the brief?’ Ultimately we were able to reduce the overall floor area of the house, while adding in more light, air, function and live-ability," says Ong.
Get the Renovations Newsletter
From warehouse conversions to rehabbed midcentury gems, to expert advice and budget breakdowns, the renovation newsletter serves up the inspiration you need to tackle your next project.