This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Playful + Reorienting Renovation

Architecture

A house designed by Austin Maynard Architects always has a little experimental flair, and a sense of playfulness, stretching expectations of how architecture can inspire full and joyful lives!

The Grant House in North Fitzroy, Melbourne, is no exception. This bold and contemporary renovation re-orients the home to a laneway entrance, and introduces a hidden cellar, central garden and secret rooftop room – no adults allowed!

25th March, 2019

A re-orientating renovation at the Grant House by Austin Maynard Architects. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

One corrugated sheet bent over, to make a simple extruded form. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A new courtyard introduced light to the home. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A narrow terrace feels open and bright after the renovation. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Stair detailing. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A bright, playful home. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Plenty of space for games! Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A lush courtyard space. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A new circulation brights freshness to the narrow corridors. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Austin Maynard Architects and their distinctive use of netting! Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Sharp window angles in the master bedroom. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Bedroom details. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Pops of colour in the bathroom. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Sleek lines! Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Folded corrugated iron follows the form of the roof. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A new laneway entrance. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

An imposing entrance. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Lucy Feagins
Monday 25th March 2019

The renovation maximises the potential of the site, while actually reducing the floor plan.

Austin Maynard Architects were brought on board by the owners of a narrow single-storey terrace in North Fitzroy, Melbourne, to bring light into the property and reconfigure an unsuccessful layout. The original home had previously been updated with an extension in the 1980s that created windowless zones and gloomy corridor spaces. The architects were faced with a challenge: ‘How do you adapt the old layout to modern living? How do you get light and air into the home? How can you make all of this work within the spatial constraints of a terrace house on a long thin block?’

The solution was to consider the functionality of the space, and create new circulation by reorienting the whole home. The ‘front door’ is now unsuspectingly accessed from the laneway side of the home. This redirection avoids the traditional corridor model on a linear site, as the main entrance now opens up to the bright living area of the property. The imposing galvanised steel door also performs as a subtle security feature. The architects highlight that behind the door ‘lies a generous and calming garden – an embracing welcome home, and the contrast between the two is stark and joyful.’

The renovation maximises the potential of the site, while actually reducing the floor plan. Stripping the 1980s extension has resulted in more light, garden space, and easier access. A courtyard separates the pre-existing home from the new addition – and it is in this introduced area where the fun really starts!

The clients expressed a desire for a basement, but the architects offered a slightly more creative option – a secret cellar! Hidden in the floor, under a sliding island bench lives a secret 2 x 4 metre vault. This inventive streak continues in the teenage bedroom, where a suspended platform bed and lounging net have been introduced. Above the bed, ‘a hatch leads up to a secret ply-lined roof space, a whole secret room his parents will likely never visit!’ This is no standard renovation!

This Week

Interiors

This Revamped Edwardian Home Has A Different Mood For Every Room

Interior Designer Georgina Jeffries delivers a classic yet contemporary makeover of a heritage home – where moments of delight are everywh...

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life of ‘Hamilton’ Star, Chloé Zuel

We go behind the scenes of the Australian production of the most famous musical in the world - with Eliza Hamilton herself!

Homes

A Modern Family’s Treetop Rental Property

The heartwarming North Warrandyte rental of Tilly Barber, her six-year-old son Mars, and friends Albee Barton and Justyn Burrow.

Creative People

Andalusian-Inspired Lampshades, Handwoven In Sydney

Lana Launay makes her textured light covers from natural materials such as coffee-stained raffia, coconut shell rope and bamboo yarn.

Food

Julia's Miso Salmon Bowl With Udon Noodles And Crunchy Greens

The onset of winter and lockdown in Victoria means we're back in comfort food mode – and this warm miso salmon bowl with crunchy greens h...
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Architecture

An Architect’s Reworking Of Sir Roy Grounds’ Former Balmain Home

A heritage 1970s house in Balmain once owned by Sir Roy Grounds has been its re-engineered by its present owner, architect Conrad Johnston o...

Architecture

A Dessert-Inspired ‘60s Home Makeover!

From banana Paddle Pop yellow, to chocolatey timber, this 1960s home makeover by Wowowa brings colour and personality to this mid century ho...

In Print

A Rustic Shed Accommodation On The Victorian Surfcoast Hinterland

Lose yourself in the classic Lynda Gardener aesthetic with her new book 'Curate: Inspiration for an Individual Home' published by Hachette A...
Ali Heath

Art

The Secret Mystical Paintings of International Art Sensation, Hilma af Klint

The visionary Swedish artist’s enormous colourful artworks were hidden from the world for decades. Now, they are on show at Art Gallery of...

Architecture

A Malaysian-Inspired Adaptable House In Brisbane

'Three House' by architect John Ellway sees three pavilions brought together as one breathable, flexible home in Paddington.

Creative People

A Truly Magical Tapestry Collaboration Between Local Artists + Weavers

Works by Eugenia Lim, Atong Atem, Troy Emery and Hayley Millar Baker were recrafted as tapestries by weavers at the Australian Tapestry Work...

Stays

A Quaint + Charming Holiday Cottage That Feels Like Home

Lotte's Hjem is a 150-year-old weatherboard nestled in the heart of Pambula on the Sapphire Coast.

Gardens

A Grandmother's Accessible, Flower-Filled Dream Garden!

Outdoor Establishments have turned a barren acreage in outer Sydney into an elderly client's dream garden featuring Eco Outdoor products.

Shopping

The Aboriginal-Owned Homewares Brand Bringing First Nations Art To Homes + Classrooms Across Australia!

Bundjalung/Minjungbal woman Emma Rolls of Emro Designs shares her collection of rugs, cushions and soon-to-be-released picnic mats featuring...

Studio Visit

The Amazing Art-Making Of Thea Anamara Perkins

The Arrernte and Kalkadoon artist is renowned for her vivid, personal portraits of prominent First Nations figures. We talked to the accompl...

View Comments

Similar Stories

Homes

Eco House Western Australia

A bright contemporary home in Perth designed with sustainability in mind and a considered array of intriguing materials.
Anna Flanders

Architecture

This Circular Beach House Will Put You In A Spin

360-degree views from the brilliantly unconventional St Andrews Beach House, by Austin Maynard Architects.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

This House Is A Love Letter To Fitzroy

This impressive renovation in Fitzroy by Austin Maynard Architects wowed the judges at last week's Victorian Architecture Awards.

This Week

In Print

A Rustic Shed Accommodation On The Victorian Surfcoast Hinterland

Lose yourself in the classic Lynda Gardener aesthetic with her new book 'Curate: Inspiration for an Individual Home' published by Hachette A...
Ali Heath

Interiors

This Revamped Edwardian Home Has A Different Mood For Every Room

Interior Designer Georgina Jeffries delivers a classic yet contemporary makeover of a heritage home – where moments of delight are everywh...

Homes

A Modern Family’s Treetop Rental Property

The heartwarming North Warrandyte rental of Tilly Barber, her six-year-old son Mars, and friends Albee Barton and Justyn Burrow.

Stays

A Quaint + Charming Holiday Cottage That Feels Like Home

Lotte's Hjem is a 150-year-old weatherboard nestled in the heart of Pambula on the Sapphire Coast.

Architecture

A Dessert-Inspired ‘60s Home Makeover!

From banana Paddle Pop yellow, to chocolatey timber, this 1960s home makeover by Wowowa brings colour and personality to this mid century ho...

Gardens

A Grandmother's Accessible, Flower-Filled Dream Garden!

Outdoor Establishments have turned a barren acreage in outer Sydney into an elderly client's dream garden featuring Eco Outdoor products.

Art

The Secret Mystical Paintings of International Art Sensation, Hilma af Klint

The visionary Swedish artist’s enormous colourful artworks were hidden from the world for decades. Now, they are on show at Art Gallery of...

Food

Julia's Miso Salmon Bowl With Udon Noodles And Crunchy Greens

The onset of winter and lockdown in Victoria means we're back in comfort food mode – and this warm miso salmon bowl with crunchy greens h...
Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Studio Visit

The Amazing Art-Making Of Thea Anamara Perkins

The Arrernte and Kalkadoon artist is renowned for her vivid, personal portraits of prominent First Nations figures. We talked to the accompl...

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life of ‘Hamilton’ Star, Chloé Zuel

We go behind the scenes of the Australian production of the most famous musical in the world - with Eliza Hamilton herself!

Architecture

An Architect’s Reworking Of Sir Roy Grounds’ Former Balmain Home

A heritage 1970s house in Balmain once owned by Sir Roy Grounds has been its re-engineered by its present owner, architect Conrad Johnston o...

Architecture

A Malaysian-Inspired Adaptable House In Brisbane

'Three House' by architect John Ellway sees three pavilions brought together as one breathable, flexible home in Paddington.

Shopping

The Aboriginal-Owned Homewares Brand Bringing First Nations Art To Homes + Classrooms Across Australia!

Bundjalung/Minjungbal woman Emma Rolls of Emro Designs shares her collection of rugs, cushions and soon-to-be-released picnic mats featuring...

Creative People

A Truly Magical Tapestry Collaboration Between Local Artists + Weavers

Works by Eugenia Lim, Atong Atem, Troy Emery and Hayley Millar Baker were recrafted as tapestries by weavers at the Australian Tapestry Work...

Creative People

Andalusian-Inspired Lampshades, Handwoven In Sydney

Lana Launay makes her textured light covers from natural materials such as coffee-stained raffia, coconut shell rope and bamboo yarn.

Similar Stories

Homes

Eco House Western Australia

A bright contemporary home in Perth, designed with sustainability as a chief priority.
Anna Flanders

Architecture

This Circular Beach House Will Put You In A Spin

360-degree views from the St Andrews Beach House, with Austin Maynard Architects.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

This House Is A Love Letter To Fitzroy

This impressive renovation in Fitzroy by Austin Maynard Architects wowed the judges at last week's Victorian Architecture Awards.

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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.