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A Clever Home That ‘Cheats’ Extra Space

Architecture

When space is tight, ingenuity and versatility is key. This clever extension of a tiny Victorian terrace in Melbourne delivers on both fronts!

This clever renovation by Steven and Carole Whiting, of Whiting Architects and Carole Whiting Interior Design respectively, creates space where there isn’t an inch to spare! It’s all about designing from the inside, out.

 

3rd September, 2018

The O’Grady Project by Steven and Carole Whiting, of Whiting Architects and Carole Whiting Interior Design Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

The project involved an extension and renovation. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

Being respectful of the Victorian terrace was paramount. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

The Melbourne residence is also the Whitting family’s home. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

The kitchen now extends out into the meals/living area and all the way down the room to the laundry/butler’s pantry. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

The window box in the living area ‘cheats’ extra space, providing the area of an additional sofa in a subtle way. It also faces east utilising winter sun. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

According to Setev, the rear yard is a suntrap that gets Northern sun throughout the day. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

In the backyard, a simple deck surrounded by planting doubles as an off-street car space when needed. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. SStyling – Carole Whiting.

The home had been owned by the same family for 80 years and ‘was very much in need of some love,’ tells Steven Whiting. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

‘The space feels more like one open area than dedicated “rooms”,’ tells Carole. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

All the colour tones Carole selected for the interiors are calm and neutral. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

Millie’s new attic bedroom. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

‘Maintaining the privacy of two teenage girls as well as creating areas for the family to come together was somewhat of a challenge,’ reflects Steven. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

Appliances in the kitchen are spread out along the entire wall relative to their day-to-day use. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

The project triumphs in its holistic approach to interior design and architecture. Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

‘The pink door to the rear is one of Carole’s favourite elements. It sits in opposition to the gritty, laneway atmosphere to the rear exterior of the house but is complementary to the softer tones within the house.’ Photo – Sharyn Cairns. Styling – Carole Whiting.

Elle Murrell
Monday 3rd September 2018

‘The house is small but it doesn’t seem small.’ – Steve Whiting, Whiting Architects.

Steven Whiting of Whiting Architects studied to be an interior designer before qualifying as an architect, and it’s clear this trajectory has given rise to his firm’s atypical tendency to work from the inside out!

When his own family needed to create an additional bedroom in their single-storey Victorian terrace, Steven’s approach was to scoop out an attic space above the existing ensuite, robe and hallway space. ‘These ground floor areas were non-habitable spaces, so we could utilise the lower headroom, which in turn offered enough headroom in the attic above,’ he explains.

Yet, a challenge came in the form of providing access to their new attic. The building was never intended to have two-storeys, so staircase placement needed careful consideration to avoid clogging up the home’s confined entry. The Whitings opted to conceal the staircase behind the entry corridor wall cladding, with access via a secret door hidden within the lines and grooves of a panelled wall. ‘Most visitors remain unaware that this cottage even has a second level… and for our daughter, the idea of a secret room particularly appealed!’ tells Steven.

Millie’s surprisingly spacious, sky-lit attic room features a distinctive boxed window with an internal outlook – the perfect place to spy on anyone coming and going! It also incorporates a raised platform area for study and play, as well as two concealed roof storage areas.

In the living spaces, the goal was to create versatile interior spaces, focussing on the cabinetry – think a ‘barn-like’ space of box-like forms, characterised by timber panelling, and there’s even a window seat for soaking up the sun.

These timber boxes now accommodate a laundry and a concealed butler’s pantry, while a functionality-driven kitchen makes the most of the small space. The latter is essentially a small recess comprising a concealed refrigerator, sink and the cooktop and oven, all thoughtfully linked to the adjoining zones. Spreading appliances out, relative to their use day-to-day, has alleviated congestion. ‘Running the joinery the full length of the wall and keeping it raised increases the feeling of space, and also extended the kitchen workspace without compromising the living area,’ tells Carole Whiting, of Carole Whiting Interior Design.

Furthermore, the hallway wall panels fold back to open up the dining room, which can be totally closed away, or double as a fourth bedroom if needed. And outside, a simple deck surrounded by planting doubles as an off-street car space.’We layered space and blurred the boundaries between traditional areas,’ reflects Steven. ‘Small sites reacting to a large brief are always a fun challenge!’

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net