This single-fronted Victorian cottage in Brunswick, Victoria required significant updating, but not everything needed to go.
Having already lived in the home for a decade, the client appreciated its established feel, as well as the size of the existing garden.
Placement Studio were tasked with retaining these qualities, while dramatically updating the home to be more contemporary, warm, and beautiful.
Given the property’s compact block size (approximately 155 square metres) and the client’s desire to maintain the garden, minimising impact to the backyard was paramount. Instead, Placement Studio designed a new floor plan on a similar footprint, with a loft space added above.
A new central courtyard separates the original two front rooms from the contemporary spaces centred around the bathroom. Placement Studio treated these new spaces as an ‘exercise in joinery’ working to overcome the home’s tight proportions. The effect is a sense of overlapping, where one space bleeds into the next.
‘Essentially the space can be seen as a large joinery unit that creates intimate moments within a larger space,’ explains Placement Studio director Stephanie Kitingan. ‘Major inspirations for these sorts of resolutions can be seen in Louis Kahn‘s residential work, and is a prominent feature in a lot of Japanese architecture due to their propensity for small living.’
A sawtooth roof form allows northern light to penetrate deep into the extension, adding to the impact of the central courtyard, operable skylight in the bathroom, and built-in living room sofa framed by a large window. ‘You can trace the passing of the day quite literally, with how the sun and shadows move in the extension,’ says Stephanie.
The material palette is an elevated take on the previous, featuring earthy spotted gum timber and brick, with tiled bench tops for added texture.
The success of this project can be attributed to its careful curation of light, and the cleverness of the joinery that subtly defines areas from one another. In rejecting the typical open-plan extension, Placement Studio have achieved the client’s preference for a humble and unpretentious home, on much the same footprint.