Turning Back Time In A Classic Melbourne Brick Home

This existing brick house in Yarraville, Melbourne was in decent condition — you just couldn’t tell under the layers of disjointed renovations.

The long-time owners engaged Agius Scorpo Architects to strip back the ‘incredibly congested and agitated arrangement of rooms’, creating a central communal area connecting to the west-facing backyard.

Just 22 square metres of mostly external space has been added to the family home, but the impact has been colossal.

Amelia Barnes

Blue render was removed to reveal the original facade brickwork on this Yarraville home. Photography – Tom Ross

Agius Scorpo Architects centralised the communal areas of the home and connected them to the backyard. Photography – Tom Ross

A box window seat was added to expand the small casual living space and create a cosy nook to relax. Dulux Hibiscus Leaf paint. Photography – Tom Ross

A new generous kitchen and island is directly accessed from the front door with views through to the garden. Photography – Tom Ross

Materials were chosen to add softness and texture, while being robust enough to stand up to the demands of a busy young family. Dulux Hibiscus Leaf and Natural White paint. Photography – Tom Ross

Terrazzo tiles by De Fazio Tiles & Stone surround the fireplace. Photography – Tom Ross

A sliding panel conceals the laundry off the meals area. Dulux Hibiscus Leaf and Natural White paint. Photography – Tom Ross

A new bathroom was created in a previous bedroom. Photography – Tom Ross

Just 22 square metres has been added to the family Melbourne home, but the impact has been colossal. Photography – Tom Ross

Amelia Barnes
19th of August 2022

The shortcomings of this Yarraville, Melbourne home were immediately apparent until a recent renovation. Disjointed communal spaces were oriented neither to the backyard or natural light, and the clinker brick facade was covered with a tired blue render, detracting from what was actually a generous and well-built building. 

Agius Scorpo Architects’ solution was to remove all of the rooms causing a ‘blockage’ in the plan by centralising the main living areas. ‘It was a complete overhaul of the existing plan layout that focused on easing the congestion of the previous renovations and stripping away as much as possible to allow the house to breathe,’ says Nic Agius, director of Agius Scorpo Architects. 

The existing bathroom and laundry were removed from their prime west-facing position and replaced with an open-plan meals and kitchen area, while the previous meals area became the main bedroom with an en suite.

All rooms in the house now open to the central kitchen and meals area that connects directly to the backyard on one side and the home’s entrance on the other. Surrounding spaces are cleverly delineated within the relatively compact 145 square metre plan by a bookshelf before the children’s bedrooms, and a large sliding panel off the laundry. 

Warm blackbutt timbers sit comfortably alongside the original hardwood floors and clinker bricks, highlighted by terrazzo tiles and focal olive green surfaces. Nic explains, ‘We used the green paint to create a point of interest in the kitchen and also to define and scale a cosy and informal area around the window seat where the kids could play whilst mum and dad cooked dinner.’

Just 22 square metres (encompassing the window and seat and outdoor deck) has been added to the overall home, and no bedrooms have been lost. Instead of building upwards or encroaching on the backyard (as is typical in an additions projects), Agius Scorpo Architects have actually enhanced this space by improving internal sightlines throughout. Nic says, ‘We believe they have made an incredible transformation in how a young active family can live here and move with ease through the house with a balanced approach to openness and concealment.’ 

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