A Transformed Victorian Terrace

Today’s home highlights the possibilities of reconfiguring a space from the inside out, without dramatically altering the built fabric of a building.

The team at studiofour shifted the layout of this Prahran house into a more flexible design – and in doing so transformed a dark Victorian terrace into modern and functional family home. This is a perfect lesson in the power of good design; a well-considered extension or renovation can truly transform a house, when done right!

Sally Tabart

An old terrace house, completely reimagined. Photo – Shannon McGarth.

White walls and American oak joinery have been utilised to maximise brightness in what was once a dark, pokey home. Photo – Shannon McGarth.

The new kitchen and dining areas. Photo – Shannon McGarth.

The perfect combination of heritage charm with a modern update! Photo – Shannon McGarth.

An EPIC functional book wall creates a framed portal to the new kitchen and dining areas. Photo – Shannon McGarth.

The clients initially approached studiofour architects to redevelop the upper level of their Victorian Terrace house, but the Melbourne-based firm saw potential to increase the flow for the whole house. Photo – Shannon McGarth.

An internal courtyard was added to create a relationship with the outdoors. Photo – Shannon McGarth.

An utterly contemporary expression. Photo – Shannon McGarth.

Sliding glass walls open up the downstairs areas of the house. Photo – Shannon McGarth.

An upstairs bedroom. Photo – Shannon McGarth.

Master bedroom. Photo – Shannon McGarth.

The home was designed with the needs of the young family in mind. Photo – Shannon McGarth.

One of the kid’s rooms. Photo – Shannon McGarth.

Sally Tabart
27th of August 2018

For Annabelle Berryman and Sarah Henry, directors of architecture firm studiofour, the renovation of a small Victorian Terrace house in Prahran presented a few textbook challenges. ‘It was full of dark, compartmentalised spaces and had very limited access to fresh air,’ Annabelle recalls.

The clients had initially approached studiofour to add an upper floor with two additional bedrooms, and a bathroom for their young family. However, Annabelle, Sarah and their team saw greater potential! Completely redeveloping the ground floor, studiofour were able to double the size of the living, kitchen and dining areas, as well as adding a central courtyard to access to light, and circulate natural airflow throughout the home.

Designed within the existing building’s framework, this ‘new home’ is a complete departure from its pokey, dark origins. Light now pours through the house, and large glass doors that slide behind a downstairs central joinery/fireplace unit have allowed the heart of the home to be connected to the new landscaped courtyard area that is both private and secure. The addition of a functional book wall ‘enabled a framed entrance into the new kitchen and dining space’, whilst another sliding glass wall connects a generous new outdoor area, and offers access to a previously unusable rear courtyard.

So often it can be tempting to demolish and build from scratch. Despite this itch to eliminate and reemerge like a phoenix from the ashes, Annabelle advises that for many homes with existing heritage and character, this approach often does not offer the best value. In this instance, the studio have shown what is possible when an even-handed renovation is designed to complement and enhance an existing structure.

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