When Steffen Welsch Architects were brought in to renovate this property in Melbourne’s inner north, the single-fronted terrace had a lean-to, with three inappropriately-sized rooms. There was also no relationship between the living space and the backyard, due to a bathroom being previously tacked on at the rear. ‘It didn’t have good sunlight access or ventilation, so it felt dark, uncomfortable and cold,’ says Steffen.
The main renovation objectives were to improve the home’s thermal performance, and open up the living domain. Other desires included the clients’ wish for a study, second bathroom, and a laundry, but these were treated as budget-permitting ‘maybes’ rather than ‘must haves’, in order to design the most functional home possible.
The updated home offers a sense of discovery, starting in the restored front rooms and hallway, into the open-plan living area, and through to the new upper storey. ‘Ideas reveal themselves gradually. There is the unexpected, and each room has its own character and merits,’ says Steffen. The original second bedroom was transformed in this process, becoming a bathroom, laundry/powder room, while the upper storey contains two new bedrooms.
A key material of the renovation is timber, which flows from the original floors onto the new wall lining, stairwell, ceiling, and rear exterior. Brick and concrete were meanwhile selected for thermal mass, enabling heat from direct sunlight to be stored in the living area.
A shade of orangey-pink also appears strategically throughout the home, in a manner reminiscent of Mexican architect Luis Barragán’s work. ‘It is very vibrant and conveys energy, so we were careful how we used it. As you enter the main living space you see only the reflection of colour in the stair void, then when you arrive at the stair and turn around, the full extent of the pink feature wall is revealed,’ Steffen says.
Overall, this house has been completely transformed, containing new spaces that are rich, but not overbearing. Inspired by feng shui principles, Steffen Welsch Architects have created a functional, thermally comfortable, and beautiful home.