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An Intriguing Northcote Home Clad In White Pickets

Architecture

Austin Maynard Architects transformed this worn-down Northcote share house into a unique home wrapped entirely in pickets, as a tongue in cheek reference to its neighbourhood’s suburban surrounds.

Behind the striking all-white facade is a compelling blend of old and new. Take a look below.

30th March, 2022

The unconventional, all-white facade made from pickets doesn’t give much away about the home’s interior. Photo – Tess Kelly

Terrazzo and metallic finishes combine in a contemporary kitchen. Photo – Tess Kelly

‘The home is sited on a fairly steep hill and as we didn’t completely demolish, we had to work with and incorporate the changes in levels,’ Austin Maynard Architects co-director Mark Austin says. Photo – Tess Kelly

The owners wanted the space to work with their collection of furniture, art, and Danish light fittings, which they’d been holding on to for almost ten years. Photo – Tess Kelly

Sliding doors open the kitchen to the refreshed backyard. Photo – Tess Kelly

White pickets even make up the window shutters! Photo – Tess Kelly

‘The addition makes the most of the simplicity of the living spaces and the relationship to the garden for the owners and their young children to enjoy,’ Mark says. Photo – Tess Kelly

The unique two-storey addition. Photo – Tess Kelly

The high fence along the boundary allows for a peak inside, while also ensuring the home’s privacy. Photo – Tess Kelly

A closer look at the unique Picket House, complete with its own picket fence, of course! Photo – Tess Kelly

Christina Karras
Wednesday 30th March 2022

When deciding on the material palette for a significant update of this heritage Northcote property, the team at Austin Maynard Architects looked to the precedent set by other houses on the street.

‘The picket fence, a common sight in the area, became the inspiration for the external cladding and the form of the addition,’ Austin Maynard Architects co-director, Mark Austin says.

‘As the design process went on we embraced the white pickets and adopted them throughout. Wrapping the entire first floor of the addition, they became the dominant aspect of the external form.’

Before its renovation, Picket House was an old Edwardian home that had been used as a neglected share house for years.

While the front of the house had plenty of character, there was an unsalvageable ‘wonky 1970’s lean-to’ at the back of the abode, which was in dire need of replacing.

Removing this section, including the kitchen, sunroom, bathroom, and laundry, along with a ‘rotten deck’ made way for the new two-story addition the owners had been dreaming of.

Mark says one of the project’s biggest achievements is its improved connection to the garden, which was made possible by building the addition directly on the boundary against the footpath to maximise space.

Inside, a mix of finishes contrasts the home’s all all-white exterior. A navy wall colour is paired with brass details and terrazzo, while timber details helps to blend older elements with new styles.

‘The textures and colours reflect the personality of the owners who wanted a kitchen, living, dining area that was full of warmth,’ Mark says.

You can see more projects by Austin Maynard Architects 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