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A Voluminous, Contemporary Home Behind A Modest Heritage Facade

Architecture

Space is something most of us could do with a little more of at home. But when you have a family of six, a business to run from home, and plans for the residence to be passed down through generations, maximising space is more important that ever.

Geelong owner-builder Matt Wilson turned to Ben Robertson from Tecture to conjure up more space in his heritage home. Negotiating multiple council overlays, a sloping block and a slightly elevated heritage house, the collaborators delivered a sprawling addition to a single-story weatherboard. All while maintaining an unassuming street frontage!

22nd May, 2020

The sprawling communal living space opens up onto the alfresco dining area. Outdoor table setting from Tait Furniture. Custom cushions from Katherine Martico. Artwork by Melanie Macilwain. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

The living space holds Memphis coffee tables from Jardan. Custom drum side table made from leftover stone. Artwork by Miranda Skoczek. Atlas rug from Armadillo. Custom banquet seating designed and installed by Banksia Lounges. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Natural light from the internal void prevents the hybrid kitchen and dining space from feeling cavernous. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

The art-filled eating zone is the central hub of the house! Custom dining table by Joel Elliott Furniture. Bay chair from Jardan. Painting by Jasmine Mansbridge. Totem sculptures by Marta Figueiredo. Buch Stool from Great Dane Furniture.

Photo – Shannon McGrath.

The interplay between light and shadow, high and low is a key feature of this undulating building! Buch stool from Great Dane Furniture. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Playing with levels and light from private to communal quarters. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Clean, crisp finishes complement the curves of scalloped glass and rounded mirrors. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

A peek into the master bathroom. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Cascades of scalloped glass mask twin shower heads by Brodware. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Custom built bunk beds display the client’s building expertise. Jardan bed linen. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Vivian’s bedroom. Kip + Co. rug. Custom bedhead by Made By Storey. Drop 50 light by Paris Au Mois Daout via Hub Furniture. Ro armchair by Fritz Hansen from Living Edge. Artwork by Jessie Breakwell.

Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Master bedroom. Artwork by Anne-Sophie Tschiegg via Greenhouse Interiors. Lincoln bedhead from Heatherly Design. Carravagio wall light from Cult Design. Bedlinen from Jardan. Assorted cushions from Adairs. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

The kids’ rumpus room. Milo modular sofa and Alby ottoman from Jardan. Olba timber coffee table from Jardan. JVI Blinds curtains. Artwork by Jessie Breakwell. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

The kids’ rumpus room. Milo modular sofa and Alby ottoman from Jardan. Olba timber coffee table from Jardan. JVI Blinds curtains. Artwork by Jessie Breakwell. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Fibre chair from Living Edge. Lamp De Marseille by Nemo Lighting from Cult Design. Larger artwork Ellie Malin, smaller artwork by Castle and Things. Custom stone drum sidetable with leftover stone. Indi side table from Jardan. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

The Trace outdoor settee from Tait Furniture. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

The Trace outdoor settee from Tait Furniture. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Looking back onto the house. The Trace outdoor settee from Tait Furniture. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

The view from the bottom of the garden! Photo – Shannon McGrath.

The full extension looks out onto the pool and sits beside a lawn. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Glazing on the side of the extension afford views onto the greenery and lets in natural light! Photo – Shannon McGrath.

The original weatherboard facade has a heritage overlay, and is coated Dulux Surfmist. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Sasha Gattermayr
Friday 22nd May 2020

‘As soon as you open the front door and see through the upper-level glass to the sky and through the house to the backyard grass, you become enamoured with the scale.’ – Ben Robertson, Director of Tecture.

At first glance, the front of this weatherboard house in Geelong is ‘rather unassuming’, muses director of Tecture, Ben Robertson. ‘But as soon as you open the front door and see through upper-level glass to the sky and through the house to the backyard, you become enamoured with the scale’ he says.

For a family of six with a business to run from home, Tecture were tasked with the mission of creating a multi-dimensional space that could grow with them, and be passed down to the next generation. Additionally, the owners have a large extended family, and it was important to create a home that was proportionally flexible to allow for the whole gang to gather both inside and outside, without disconnecting from each other.

‘When we design projects, we look at the original home for inspiration’, explains Ben. The goal was to design a house that ‘sat gracefully behind the heritage dwelling, and sympathetic in its form when looking at it from the street.’

The new dwelling behind the original facade is significantly different, mostly in scale and volume. Given the large scale of the block (and the needs of this big family!) the challenge for the architects was to design the extension with alternating internal volumes and scales to avoid any hollowness creeping into the space. Internal voids funnel natural light into the large communal areas, while the varying levels of the house were designed to lean into the undulations of the sloping block.

Different heights and elevations separate the sleeping quarters from the living zones, and by wrapping the communal spaces around the garden, pool and alfresco dining area, the architects were able to create a panoramic connection to the back half of the block from the central hub. Large, scalloped glass shower screens feature in the bathroom, while a pair of custom-built bunk beds (double beds on the bottom, single beds on the top!) can cater to a variety of different needs.

This elegant home is sure to endure for many generations to come!

The owners of this project are Built By Wilson, local builders in the Geelong area. You can learn more about them here. Take a look at other Tecture projects here.

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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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net