When Clare Cousins architects were engaged to update a heritage home in St Kilda, they were met with a restrictive Edwardian home, with limited natural light or outlook to the garden. The owners’ collection of interesting and rare plants was located in the rear garden, which received little sun and prohibited the residents from expanding their range of exotic greenery!
The architects introduced a new garden pavilion in the backyard, while undertaking an update to the Edwardian cottage. The architects explain that garden pavilion addition was ‘designed to maximise exposure to a small, sculptural garden’ and create ‘exceptional permeability between the interior and exterior’. For the keen gardener owners, this reorientation of the home and connection the garden was a key part of the brief. A clever approach to landscaping was also important, to accommodate security for dogs Abraham and Gladys in the rear garden!
The Baffle House takes it name from the exterior steel baffle screen of the new pavilion. The design provides sleek architectural lines, as well as a passive environmental light and heat regulation. While the materiality of the pavilion sits in contrast to shingle and brick cottage, a simple, pared back palette in both interiors creates a sense of cohesion. Pale timbers and neutral colours are used throughout, and the patterned tiles in the bathroom repeat the geometric motif of the distinctive new façade.
While most home renovations are about increasing the house footprint, this extension was a spatial negotiation in a small site. The architect explains that in order to maximise the space for the garden, a bedroom in the existing house was sacrificed. Working closely with Eckersley Garden Architecture, this home that truly celebrates the garden, with plenty of room for cacti, succulents and a productive veggie patch.