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An Intimate Inner-City Home + Secret Garden

Architecture

Wendy House is located on a relatively compact site typical of its Abbotsford, Melbourne location.

Rather than overtake the garden with an overpowering extension, architects Ha made this the focal point of the entire renovation, resulting in a sympathetic and understated renovation and upper addition.

The updated home mirrors the intimacy of its humble predecessor, while drawing the outdoors inside, from all angles.

1st October, 2021

Wendy House is an alterations and additions project by architects Ha. Ridge Terracotta Vase by Muuto via In Good Company. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

Rather than overtake the garden with an overpowering extension, architects Ha made this the focal point of the entire renovation. Kuriēto ceramics. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

‘The highlight of the house is the garden, where climate suitable native and exotic plants ensure some of the original untamed aesthetic is preserved,’ says architect Nick Harding. Ridge Terracotta Vase by Muuto via In Good Company. Outdoor chair by Ferm Living via In Good Company. Plantscaping by Pop PlantPhoto – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

Terracotta flooring flows seamlessly from the indoors to outside. Kuriēto ceramics. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

Intimate spaces reflect and augment the feel of the existing cottage. Artwork by Kasper Raglus from Modern Times. Ridge Terracotta Vase by Muuto via In Good Company. Cushion and throw by Pampa. Plantscaping by Pop Plant. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

Rather than extend outwards, Ha created a new open-plan living area within the original ground floor footprint, with an additional bedroom upstairs. Artwork by Kasper Raglus from Modern Times. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

Timber shelving brings added warmth to the living area. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

Stairs leading to the new extension. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

The extension contains the main bedroom and an en suite. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

Terracotta flooring continues into the bathroom. Baina towel. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

The bedroom looks out to the garden below. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

Bathrooms are calming and tactile. Baina towel. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

Baina towel. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

A source of inspiration for the entire project was the beautiful revitalisations of the old Queenslander weatherboard homes that draw the outdoors in. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

The updated home mirrors the intimacy of its humble predecessor, while drawing the outdoors in from all angles. Photo – Nicholas Wilkins. Styling – Studio 11:11

Amelia Barnes
Friday 1st October 2021

‘The opportunity was to connect the interior with the exterior, and bring the sense of a secret garden into the new home.’ – Nick Harding

The owner of this pre-WWII double-fronted weatherboard home in Abbotsford was intent on retaining its humble character, except with added space and a better appreciation of the garden.

‘The opportunity was to connect the interior with the exterior, and bring the sense of a secret garden into the new home,’ explains architect Nick Harding, principal of Ha, regarding the project. 

Rather than extend outwards, Ha created a new open-plan living area within the original ground floor footprint, with an additional bedroom upstairs. 

Wishing to maintain the home’s single-storey frontage, this entire addition was pushed back a discreet distance from the street. Its roof line angles also mirror that of the existing cottage, creating a subtle silhouette of the original form.  

A source of inspiration for the entire project was the beautiful revitalisations of old Queenslander weatherboard homes that draw the outdoors in. Borrowing this concept, Wendy House offers a diversity of views and vantage points to appreciate the surroundings and plantscaping by Pop Plant

The material palette was also carefully considered to flow seamlessly from the indoors out. 

‘Our approach to materiality primarily supports the connection between the existing weatherboard and the renovation,’ says Nick. ‘The terracotta flooring extends out from the interior to the garden, bringing warmth and richness into the palette — and a sense of borrowed space that expands the modestly sized living quarters. Simple timber windows were chosen to reflect the honest home that Wendy House is.’

The completed house now offers a variety of intimate, discrete experiences that reflect and augment the feel of the existing cottage.

Nick says, ‘The highlight of the house is the garden, where climate suitable native and exotic plants ensure some of the original untamed aesthetic is preserved alongside, a more liveable, light-filled experience.

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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