The Victorian weatherboard cottage typology has its inherent limitations; poor solar access, compartmentalised rooms, and limited storage are typical in the houses of this era and are no longer appropriate for a contemporary young family.
Designed for a growing family of four, the driving idea behind the Ellis House renovation was to ‘open up’ the building to the garden and pour as much light into the spaces as possible.
The narrow six metre wide block meant the extension needed to be compact and efficient yet spacious and comfortable at the same time. A clever solution was required to achieve this, manifesting in a number of small, simple architectural moves.
A linear ‘light shaft’ punctuates the minimal rectilinear form, running the full length of the proposed extension and channelling natural light right through to the ground floor. A secondary void is cut above the kitchen, connecting the children’s play space upstairs with the living spaces below. Sharp angular shapes, forms and voids become a recurring motif throughout the house.
With a particularly clear vision for their home, the clients remained closely involved in every aspect of the design process in order to create a home that caters for their specific needs and realise their ideal vision of domestic life.
Designed for entertaining, the kitchen and living spaces flow into one another, built in benches create informal seating spaces around the kitchen and provide that much needed storage the existing house desperately lacked.
The design approach sought to complement the existing victorian cottage with an extension of contemporary design, providing a strong architectural contrast between the old and the new. Though taking cues from Hawthorn’s heritage architectural styles, a stripped back material palette of recycled brick, white painted timber and concrete create a subtle layering of materials, tones and textures that come together to form a visually rich, modern home.
Project TypeAlterations & Additions
Architectural TeamAlexandra Buchanan with Jimi Connor & Richard Valle