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A Bafflingly Beautiful Renovation


The Baffle House by Clare Cousins architects takes its evocative name from the innovative grid design on the new garden pavilion, which extends the functionality of the home and garden, without imposing on the original Edwardian cottage.

This eye-catching renovation is inspired by the owners’ love of gardening, and we chat with architect Oliver Duff about creating a new pavilion that allows plenty of space for a beloved cacti collection! Working with Eckersley Garden Architecture, Clare Cousins architects have created a secluded and verdant space here, and a fresh take on renovating a heritage home.

5th June, 2019

The Baffle House by Clare Cousins architects. Honeycomb pavers by Eco Outdoor. Photo – Lisbeth Grosmann

A renovation that links to the inside and enhances the outside. Photo – Lisbeth Grosmann.

This garden contains rare cacti! Honeycomb pavers by Eco Outdoor. Photo – Lisbeth Grosmann.

The retrained interiors of the new garden pavilion. Photo – Lisbeth Grosmann.

Bright and spacious interior design creates a fresh aesthetic that connects with the outdoors. Photo – Lisbeth Grosmann.

Welcome the the Baffle house! Photo – Lisbeth Grosmann.

Crisp linear lines and shifting shadows of light. Photo – Lisbeth Grosmann.

A neutral colour palette brought to life with rich amber artworks. Photo – Lisbeth Grosmann.

The tiles of the bathroom mimic the baffle design of the pavilion. Photo – Lisbeth Grosmann.

A new pavilion that breathes! Honeycomb pavers by Eco Outdoor. Photo – Lisbeth Grosmann.

Miriam McGarry
Wednesday 5th June 2019

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.

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