Clare Cousins Architects’ familiarity and expertise with brick made them the natural choice to extend this 1930s interwar home in Glen Iris’ heritage Summerhill Estate Precinct.
The brief was to expand the home’s art deco features, while better accommodating a young family, and establishing a prominent garden. ‘While they loved the house and the area, our clients had outgrown the inward-facing two-bedroom residence and sought a spacious and light-filled home with a study. It was important to the clients to keep the character they loved of the existing house and carry this through into the new extension,’ says Oliver Duff, director of architecture at Clare Cousins.
The original art deco architecture is reflected in the curving new addition, made from monolithic cream brick, with sheets of glass underneath reminiscent of a waterfall. Handmade Krause bricks were chosen especially to resonate with the character of the existing dwelling, with beautiful detailing achieved by builders Original Projects.
While the original house sat neatly in the streetscape, the rear was disconnected from the backyard, which was previously positioned well below the house. The architects addressed this problem through a series of internal level changes, overcoming the site’s steep fall and subtly defining spaces within.
At the rear, a narrow outcrop of the lush garden designed by Eckersley Garden Architecture now creeps towards the centre of the house. Freeform sandstone paving ties in with the earthy spotted gum applied liberally indoors.
The home’s original rooms have been sensitively updated, retaining features such as steel framed windows, period joinery, and etched glass bathroom windows. New details reflect the character of the existing home and the personality of the owners, including an outdoor on the upstairs deck, and round openings between the deck and the garden below.
The project was completed in March 2020 — just ahead of Melbourne’s first Covid lockdown. ‘The appreciation of seeing our clients moving from their temporary accommodation into their new light-filled and spacious home and garden — where they could find sanctuary to work and relax — was incredibly rewarding in such a difficult time,’ says Oliver.