A renovation navigates tough zoning, netting a small home some extra space.
In Malvern, a suburb of Melbourne, a couple ventured to expand their modest-sized home, undoing a dated 1980s addition in the process. The immediate challenge of the project was that the home had been designated with a Heritage B grade, despite a lack of discernible architectural detail or historical character. This protection meant that any alteration or addition had to be at the rear of the structure, largely invisible from the street. Together with the client, Melbourne-based firm Jost Architects conceptualized a design that would comply with heritage requirements, add square footage, and meet the many functional needs of the residents. Before the team could proceed with their programmatic plan for the new space, an old addition had to be removed. With a final net gain of about 500 square feet, the home got more space, along with a much-needed improvement in layout and functionality.
From the start of the project, a tangible connection to the rear garden was at the top of the clients’ wish list. This fluid transition from the living room is enhanced by ceiling height steel framed double-glazed sliders. Clerestory windows bring additional light in, and enhance the feeling of openness.
The white cement front facade was left unchanged due to heritage restrictions. From the front of the home, the new burnt ash wall at the entry is the only hint that a modern wing lies behind the unassuming exterior.
Upon entering, there is an uninterrupted line of sight to the lush backyard. One of the details the team agonized over was the path from the entry to the rear living space and garden. Says Jost Architects principal Patrick Jost, the team gave “special attention to getting from the front door to the rear living area and reviewing and investigating every combination of layout to achieve the best result.” This was done through collaborative planning with the clients, who volunteered ideas and sketches along the way.
An internal courtyard punctuates the main floor and adds a practical source of light and air. The local climate patterns were taken into account during the home’s design and layout. Because temperatures can vary quite dramatically, solar control was very important. The large glazed sliders to the east, where the home gets morning sun, strategically contrast with the less extensive glazing to the north.
The streamlined kitchen features Miele cooktop, Sirius hood, Siemens oven, and Fisher & Paykel refrigerator.
The new, enlarged master bedroom is positioned where the old dining room once was. The clients wished to add an ensuite bathroom and walk-in closet. Throughout the design process, there was push and pull with reconciling the programmatic goals with a finite space. “Getting everything the clients needed into a pretty small was achieved through massaging small dimensions from one end of the house to the other,” says Jost.
The new master bathroom features matte-black quartz countertops, a Cube sink, and a Scala wall-mount faucet. A Hansgrohe showerhead is surrounded by bold Gelsomino glass mosaic tile.
The dramatic rear elevation showcases the open-plan living and dining room. Apart from the addition, the rest of the home maintained its “traditional” layout, with bedrooms branching off from a central hallway. Windows on all sides of the addition bring light in and make the space feel bright and expansive. Tonal and textural contrast can be seen between the burnt ash cladding at the exterior and the engineered European oak flooring at the interior. Through thoughtful design and space planning, the architects and owners made the biggest impact possible with only 500 square feet of added living space.