A Bungalow Renovation That Truly Brings The Outdoors In!

It is pretty reasonable to assume that a building should have four walls, but for this extension to a weatherboard bungalow in Williamstown, architect and interior designer Michael Ong of MODO Architecture tried to create a new addition that was ‘as building-less as possible.’

Take a tour of this spectaculr update to the existing home, which takes an ‘outside in’ approach to design.

Miriam McGarry
Supports The Design Files

The Outside In House by Modo Architecture, built by Sargant Construction and landscape architecture by Amanda Olive Gardens. Photo – Ben Hosking.

Old meets new and inside meets outside. Photo – Ben Hosking.

The L-shape curves around and welcomes the outside in. Photo – Ben Hosking.

All the glass! Photo – Ben Hosking.

The landscape leads right into the new extension. Photo – Ben Hosking.


The renovations create new connections between the garden and welcomes in the natural light. Photo – Ben Hosking.

The old weatherboard becomes a feature wall. Photo – Ben Hosking.

Kitchen details. Photo – Ben Hosking.

A spot for a dog nap! Photo – Ben Hosking.

The home is much loved by the owners, who wanted a renovation that would respect that past. Photo – Ben Hosking.

Rays of light. Photo – Ben Hosking.

An updated bathroom. Photo – Ben Hosking.

Miriam McGarry
4th of November 2019

The ‘Outside In House’ in Melbourne’s Williamstown was driven by the owner’s wish to restore their double storey weatherboard bungalow, while adding a modern addition that respected the past. The owners had lived in the home for many years, and developed strong connections to its original characteristics, and wanted the sensibility of the property to be retained in the renovations.

Architect and interior designer Michael Ong, of MODO Architecture explains it was ‘vital for our design concept to respond directly and gently.’ His approach was to maintain the structure of the existing home, designing only small interventions in keeping with its original design, then add an L-shaped extension to the rear.

The new zinc clad addition encourages open-plan living, particularly in the glass link between the old and new portions of the home, which invites abundant natural light and views of the garden. Michael says this extension was intended to be ‘as building-less as possible, allowing this space instead to emphasise the contrast and individual beauty of the traditional and the modern architecture.’ The entire rear facade is a glazed wall, in order to bring the outdoors in as much as possible. ‘We wanted to make the barrier between the interior and exterior as thin as possible – almost as if it was invisible,’ Michael says.

Michael’s favourite part of this house is where the original cladding of the bungalow has been brought into the indoors, to form one of the extension’s interior walls. He highlights how this wall ‘might have been considered ordinary, and in so many cases would have been demolished, [but] we were able to retain and transform it into something quite special and unique’. As Michael enthuses –’even the banal can be made into gold!’ with an inventive approach.

Recent Architecture