Timmins + Whyte Architecture + Design were engaged to transform this Edwardian home in Abbotsford, Victoria, following several prior renovations. The original plan was to retain at least the front room of the existing house, but on closer inspection, this required re-stumping and new flooring – alongside new plastering, new wiring, and new insulation! Even the home’s period facade had previously been altered, leaving nothing of heritage value. ‘So, rather than repair it all, it was rebuilt in the exact same dimensions and proportions,’ says Sally Timmins, co-director of Timmins + Whyte.
The rebuild and two-storey extension focused on addressing the home’s shortcomings, such as an existing bathroom that stood between the kitchen and the north-facing yard, and a laundry only accessible from the outside. ‘Like many inner-city single fronted blocks, the lot size was long and thin and, in this case, it had a short, north-facing end. The challenge for us was to manipulate the layout and setbacks in a way that maximised the natural light into all zones,’ says Sally.
Timmins + Whyte overcame these issues with a new roof featuring 10 individual folds, which draws light right into the centre of the house. The roof’s form minimises bulk to the eastern neighbour, before rising up to its large two-storey western neighbour.
‘Throughout, the space creates its own sense of expansion and compression – from intimate dining to the towering ceiling suspended over a wall of handpicked art’ Sally explains. ‘The design further opens the kitchen at the rear to a now private garden, where neighbours’ houses are unseen, yet their mature trees including a palm and Jacaranda become part of our client’s seasonal experience of their own garden.’
Internally, the architects relocated the bathroom and laundry to the middle of the ground floor, while adding two new bedrooms upstairs. The clients also invested in solar panels and water tanks, as well as upgrading wall and roof insulation.
The completed home, nicknamed 10 Fold House, is best appreciated from the living room banquette seat, where the now flourishing seasonal and edible garden sits at window height, and sunlight streams in.