A run-down heritage-listed terrace house in Albert Park presented a challenging brief for Tandem. The Melbourne design studio was enlisted to update and extend the property to fit the needs of a young family, whilst maintaining the heritage streetscape. That meant constant interaction with the council and A LOT of red tape!
‘The site was constrained, the neighbours were very interested in the plans, and the council was fussy’, Tandem’s Tim Hill admits, ‘we had to work hard with the council… eventually taking our hand-built cardboard and balsa model to show them how it would look.’
It was the balsa wood mode that did the trick, and the Tandem team set to work. They introduced natural light and ventilation at every opportunity, rebuilding the stair and adding a new vented skylight. Extensive renovations were made to the bedrooms, bathrooms, and laundry, including lots of new storage. Repositioning the kitchen and opening up the ground level reinvigorated the flow of the home, allowing it to transition seamlessly into its new form: a two-storey garden pavillion.
The result is a cohesive, functional family home that comprises two distinct components, linked by a glass hallway. The home is at once strikingly modern and relaxed – it has that lived-in feel that differentiates a house from a home, with warm timber accents softening robust concrete and brickwork surfaces. The floor-to-ceiling glass openings encircle the interior spaces with greenery, thanks to a courtyard on one side and the rear garden on the other.
In line with Tandem’s sustainability-led design philosophy, Tim encourages homeowners to consider working with the original structures of their homes before opting to rebuild.
‘Many Melbourne terraces are dark and gloomy… opening up the plan, introducing vented skylights and bringing in garden can make a world of difference to an existing house,’ he explains, ‘the terrace is a great housing model in achieving high density while maintaining individual property ownership. Working to improve our existing house stock, rather than knocking it down, is a great way to improve our city’. Hear hear!