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 Home Designed For Introverts

Architecture

The world can be an overwhelming place for an introvert. As author Susan Cain has argued, society is largely structured to cater to the other two thirds of the population, who thrive on communal and stimulating environments!

So… if our cities and suburbs have been implicitly designed for extroverts, what would a home deliberately designed to cater to introvert needs look like? The Double Life house by Breathe Architecture (yes, of Nightingale Housing fame!) appears as a regular Surry Hills home from the outside, but has been redesigned as a restorative fortress within.

18th June, 2019

Photo – Katherine Lu.

Photo – Katherine Lu.

Photo – Katherine Lu.

Photo – Katherine Lu.

Photo – Katherine Lu.

Photo – Katherine Lu.

Miriam McGarry
Tuesday 18th June 2019

‘If our cities and suburbs have been implicitly designed for extroverts, what would a home deliberately designed to cater to introvert needs look like?’

The Double Life House by Breathe Architecture sits unassumingly on a Surry Hills St, tucked in a row of double-storey Victorian terraces. At a glance, the hundred-year-old building looks completely in keeping with its historic setting, and consistent with its neighbours. It is only once the front door is opened, that the ‘double life’ of this home is revealed.

Designed for two self-proclaimed introverts, design architect Jeremy McLeod and project lead Daniel McKenna considered the spatial and sonic qualities that would create a calm and serene home, ‘a true place of retreat.’ This was achieved through an initial process of ‘softening the outside world’ by stepping off the street into a library of black joinery. Behind the book shelving lies a hidden entertainment room, concealed/revealed by a pivoting artwork – a true introvert’s inner lair!

Within a relatively small footprint, the renovation creates a various concealed, restorative spaces for the owners. The home follows a spatial plan of key moments, the architects describe as moving from ‘façade, to transformation, to cape’ and then finally to the ‘fortress of solitude.’ Has solo ‘down time’ ever sounded so heroic?!

However, in addition to introducing a cave-like sense of protection, the architects also worked to connect the home with the outside world. The narrow home was opened up at the rear to a north-facing courtyard, to welcome natural light into the compact property.

Materially, the building remains true to its 100-year-old identity, and the architects ensured that the process ‘stripped back, expressed and exposed the layers of existing building fabric.’ They describe the Double Life House as an exercise in ‘building more with less’ and aimed to introduce only low embodied energy, recycled and locally sourced materials.

This Week

News

Patricia Piccinini And Alpha60 Join Forces On A New Collaboration

The celebrated Australian artist and local fashion legends launch a new series of textiles titled ‘Hugs’, which are now installe...
Sponsored

Stays

This New Byron Bay Hinterland Accomodation Is Equal Parts Luxury + Rustic

Book your stay at The Perch – a beautifully renovated 1970s property in Bangalow, NSW.

Studio Visit

The Award-Winning Student Ceramicist Suspending Time In Clay

Bell Carver is the recipient of the inaugural Shelley Simpson Ceramics Prize (and $10,000 in prize money!) - a new award for emerging cerami...

Creative People

Behind The Scenes Of 'Rone In Geelong’ – Opening This Weekend!

See a retrospective of artist Rone's work to date at Geelong Gallery from Saturday February 27 to Sunday May 16, 2021.

News

A New Book About The Wonderful, Colourful World Of Ken Done Is Here

The legendary Australian artist is celebrated with a new book by Thames & Hudson, ‘Ken Done: Art, Design, Life’.

Sustainable Homes

A Former Corner Store Turned Sustainable Family Home

A dilapidated, Federation-era shopfront is transformed into a truly unique, energy efficient home by CplusC Architectural Workshop.

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s Glamorous Victorian Pad Hits The Market!

Chelsea Hing’s apartment in an 1890s Italianate mansion in St Kilda East is up for sale. This is *the one*!

News

An Abstract Art Biennale Celebrating Female Artists From Victoria

See ‘Of Colour and Light’ – an exhibition of 50 emerging and established female artists – on now at West End Art Space.

Family

An Honest Conversation On Single Parenting By Choice + Donor Conception With Takeawei Ceramics Founder, Chela Edmunds

Chela Edmunds of Takeawei ceramics shares her story of becoming a mother to 18-month-old Ocean via sperm donor and IVF.

Architecture

This Lower North Shore Family House Feels Like A Permanent Vacation!

Two grand palm trees on entry provide a strong identity for the Whisper House, designed by Manolev Architects.

News

'Giant' by Evi O Opens At Saint Cloche

Artist Evi O showcases her largest paintings to date in new exhibition Giant, on now at Saint Cloche.

Interiors

A Social Sydney Home Elevated By Garden Views + On Point Decoration!

Following an architectural renovation by Welsh + Major, celebrated design studio Arent&Pyke elevate this Sydney home with a stunning array o...

News

A Group Show Combining Ceramics + Still-Life Under One Roof!

Ceramicist Grace Brown joins artistic forces with figurative artist Margaret Voterakis for a new exhibition at Modern Times, ‘Utopian Purs...
Sasha Aarons

Homes

Emily Green's Joyous Family Home, Filled With Local Makers’ Work

The fun and colour-filled Reservoir family home of designer and Pinky's store co-owner, Emily Green, and teacher Louis Turner.

Art

11 Affordable, Emerging Painters You Should Know!

From landscapes and surrealism to portraits and abstract art, these local artists are going BIG places.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Thoroughly Tactile Terrace

Bringing new light and life to a narrow North Fitzroy home, with Olaver Architecture.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Sydney Cottage Conversion Influenced By Traditional Japanese Architecture

Downie North architects bring inspiration all the way from Kyoto, in this clever, space-enhancing renovation.
Miriam McGarry

A Longer Read

Nightingale Housing Wants You To Own A Great Apartment

We tour Nightingale 1, a brand new apartment building in Melbourne shaking up inner-city development.

This Week

Stays

This New Byron Bay Hinterland Accomodation Is Equal Parts Luxury + Rustic

Book your stay at The Perch – a beautifully renovated 1970s property in Bangalow, NSW.

Family

An Honest Conversation On Single Parenting By Choice + Donor Conception With Takeawei Ceramics Founder, Chela Edmunds

Chela Edmunds of Takeawei ceramics shares her story of becoming a mother to 18-month-old Ocean via sperm donor and IVF.

News

An Abstract Art Biennale Celebrating Female Artists From Victoria

See ‘Of Colour and Light’ – an exhibition of 50 emerging and established female artists – on now at West End Art Space.

Art

11 Affordable, Emerging Painters You Should Know!

From landscapes and surrealism to portraits and abstract art, these local artists are going BIG places.

Sustainable Homes

A Former Corner Store Turned Sustainable Family Home

A dilapidated, Federation-era shopfront is transformed into a truly unique, energy efficient home by CplusC Architectural Workshop.

Interiors

A Social Sydney Home Elevated By Garden Views + On Point Decoration!

Following an architectural renovation by Welsh + Major, celebrated design studio Arent&Pyke elevate this Sydney home with a stunning array o...

News

'Giant' by Evi O Opens At Saint Cloche

Artist Evi O showcases her largest paintings to date in new exhibition Giant, on now at Saint Cloche.

Architecture

This Lower North Shore Family House Feels Like A Permanent Vacation!

Two grand palm trees on entry provide a strong identity for the Whisper House, designed by Manolev Architects.

Creative People

Behind The Scenes Of 'Rone In Geelong’ – Opening This Weekend!

See a retrospective of artist Rone's work to date at Geelong Gallery from Saturday February 27 to Sunday May 16, 2021.

News

A Group Show Combining Ceramics + Still-Life Under One Roof!

Ceramicist Grace Brown joins artistic forces with figurative artist Margaret Voterakis for a new exhibition at Modern Times, ‘Utopian Purs...
Sasha Aarons

Studio Visit

The Award-Winning Student Ceramicist Suspending Time In Clay

Bell Carver is the recipient of the inaugural Shelley Simpson Ceramics Prize (and $10,000 in prize money!) - a new award for emerging cerami...

News

Patricia Piccinini And Alpha60 Join Forces On A New Collaboration

The celebrated Australian artist and local fashion legends launch a new series of textiles titled ‘Hugs’, which are now installe...
Sponsored

News

A New Book About The Wonderful, Colourful World Of Ken Done Is Here

The legendary Australian artist is celebrated with a new book by Thames & Hudson, ‘Ken Done: Art, Design, Life’.

Homes

Emily Green's Joyous Family Home, Filled With Local Makers’ Work

The fun and colour-filled Reservoir family home of designer and Pinky's store co-owner, Emily Green, and teacher Louis Turner.

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s Glamorous Victorian Pad Hits The Market!

Chelsea Hing’s apartment in an 1890s Italianate mansion in St Kilda East is up for sale. This is *the one*!

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Thoroughly Tactile Terrace

Bringing new light and life to a narrow North Fitzroy home, with Olaver Architecture.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Sydney Cottage Conversion Influenced By Traditional Japanese Architecture

Downie North architects bring inspiration all the way from Kyoto, in this clever cottage conversion.
Miriam McGarry

A Longer Read

Nightingale Housing Wants You To Own A Great Apartment

We tour Nightingale 1, a brand new apartment building in Melbourne shaking up inner-city development.

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.