Happily-Ever-After In The Storybook House

A ‘storybook house’ is an architectural style that was popular in the 1920s in the UK and USA, that captures a sense of playfulness and individuality. While there are no definitive features of this ‘style’ – picture a home from your favourite childhood book, and you’ve got the general vibe.

For Tim Wilson, Director of Folk Architects, creating a storybook house in modern Melbourne meant delivering a home that would ‘transcend architectural conventions to achieve something entirely new.’ Within a small footprint, the pragmatic design approach is surprisingly packed with function whilst maintaining a sense of clarity, calmness and a generosity of space.

The Storybook House in Melbourne’s inner north delivers a magical outcome!

Miriam McGarry
Supports The Design Files

Welcome to the Storybook House by Folk Architects. Photo – Tom Blachford.

White and cream terracotta tiling clad the renovated Victorian terrace. Photo – Tom Blachford.

No space is wasted in the home, the couch conceals storage underneath. Photo – Tom Blachford.

Inspired by Japanese designers, Folk Architects cleverly utilise every corner of space. Photo – Tom Blachford.

A desk with a view. Photo – Tom Blachford.

From bathroom to courtyard in one easy step. Photo – Tom Blachford.

Bathroom details of minimal luxe materials. Photo – Tom Blachford.

Master bedroom opens out to a sunny nook. Photo – Tom Blachford.

Miriam McGarry
24th of June 2019

The brief to Folk Architects was to adapt a typical Victorian-era terrace house and create open plan living areas, an additional bedroom, and welcome in more natural light. Director of Folk Architects Tim Wilson describes how the renovation was designed to frame views and create open garden spaces, ‘including internal courtyards, a roof garden, and borrowing the landscape from the adjacent park and outlook to Melbourne’s skyline.’

The site for the renovation was limited, and Tim explains how this informed the design approach of fitting ‘as much program and amenity as possible into the small building footprint.’ Every millimetre of space has been thoughtfully considered, and ‘no single plane or surface is underutilised.’ The balustrade to the upper level also functions as a built-in desk and study, and concealed services and storage create a deceptive sense of space. A secret laundry chute is hidden under a trapdoor in the master bedroom, which delivers clothes straight to the laundry below!

The external material palette of white and cream terracotta tile cladding is respectful of the surrounding neighbourhood in its subdued tones and traditional pitched tile roof form, and the textured outside also offers a gentle reference to the unusual roof forms of storybook houses. The architects also reference Japanese design as a key influence for this project, providing examples of using space efficiently and functional details that add to their daily lives.

The success of the home is reflected in the endorsement of the owners who enthuses, ‘having only just spent a few magical nights in the house, we know it was worth all the considerations, deliberations and details.’ A fairy tale ending!

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