The client brief for Norwood was fairly typical for an inner-city Melbourne Victorian terrace renovation. ‘Mainly they wanted to open up the living spaces to the backyard; increase the amount of natural light coming into the house; and create a welcoming space to entertain and cook for family and friends,’ says Architecture Architecture director Nick James.
Architecture Architecture agreed with the vision, although achieving this level of amenity on such a narrow block required a clever design response.
The solution – integrating custom, built-in furniture to activate the site’s edges. Upholstered banquettes, window seating, and kitchen benches now line the living space, freeing up the centre for a generous island bench and built-in table. ‘Everything feels integrated – is integrated – fitting together like a three-dimensional jigsaw,’ says Nick.
An opportunity to combine indoors and out was also identified, allowing the living area and rear courtyard to benefit from a sense of borrowed space. ‘We understood from the outset that designing the threshold was key, establishing continuity and generosity between these two zones and effectively unifying them,’ explains Nick.
The kitchen bench continues into the yard for outdoor cooking; a timbered awning draws back into the house filtering light from a skylight above; and an indoor seat extends to an outdoor platform for perching and sunbathing.
Further enhancing the sense of space are strategically placed mirrors in the living room to reflect light and garden snippets.
Once tight, shadowy and disconnected, this updated house is expansive, light-filled, and open. Major changes have been achieved without adding an extension or imposing on neighbours. Genius!