Architect George Meek, of Studio Meek, and his partner Matt Madden knew they’d uncovered a gem when they first laid eyes on this 1910 Edwardian weatherboard cottage in Newtown, Geelong.
The home had already received a tidy renovation in the early 2000s, with re-stumping and painting, ‘However, the yellow-based cream walls and faux heritage blackwood kitchen were crying out for some tender love and care!’, says George.
George knew early on that his design for the renovation and extension needed to address these issues, as well as improving the quality of light within the dark interior spaces, and connect the indoor and outdoor living.
The entire project took 17 months to complete. The sequence of the build, which started at the front of the house where the original kitchen was, meant the couple lived in the house for nearly 14 months without a proper kitchen.
‘To get by we made a makeshift cooking station with the old laundry door… although we opted for takeaway dinners a lot during that time!’, says George.
Their new kitchen is the antithesis of this makeshift set-up. Now located at the back of the original home, its design facilitates a seamless transition into the new extension, which houses the open plan living and dining, and flows through to the garden beyond.
This new connection to the garden inspired pops of forest green in the kitchen cabinetry, complimented by dusty pink square porcelain tiles for a dedicated meals area within the island bench. These same tiles are mirrored on the floor beneath the bench, softening the transition between the old baltic pine floorboards of the original house and the new Tasmanian oak flooring of the extension.
‘We loved the way the green helped to reference the lush green garden beyond… and these pink tones now link visually to the king proteas and kangaroo paws in the garden too,’ explains George.
It’s not the only reference to the home’s surrounding landscape. George also opted for a contemporary version of a ‘hipped roof’ with an off-center ridge to the west of the house, inspired by the shelters along the Barwon River, not a stone’s throw from the home.
‘We often spend time down by the river, enjoying these community spaces with friends and I liked the idea of re-interpreting our own little “shelter” to connect us to the landscape in the rear yard,’ he says.
This old Edwardian has been given a new lease on life thanks to George’s considered design; reviving the old, seamlessly integrating the new and celebrating the surrounding site. His goal to bring light into the dark home and connect it to the garden, complete.