Sunday by Architecture architecture manages to feel both spacious and varied; intimate and communal — a true achievement when you consider the floorplan is just 70 square metres.
The owners, Virginia and Sophie, had been living at the Fitzroy workers’ cottage for two decades when they engaged the Melbourne design firm for a complete renovation.
‘As we found it, [the home] had awkward living areas, a backyard overlooked by neighbours on two sides, and front rooms that were dark and uninviting,’ project director Michael Roper says. ‘Unfortunately, none of this is uncommon on a small inner-urban site like this.’
But rather than adding more space to the narrow 175-square-metre block with a second storey, Michael says the clients were open to ‘unorthodox and innovative’ spatial planning. They opted to forego a traditional hallway, instead creating a calming central courtyard that separated their bedroom from the rest of the residence, turning it into a deliberate retreat while also providing garden views and allowing natural light to flow throughout.
‘We’ve zoned the house into a chequerboard of spatial conditions, ranging from communal and generous, through to private and intimate,’ Michael adds.
This carefully considered floorplan ensures each section of the house feature both functional, open areas for social gathering, and quiet spaces reserved for relaxation — for example the yellow sunken lounge offers a luxurious escape from the ‘communal’ living room, while the private bedroom’s ensuite hides a matching yellow bathtub, overlooking the lush greenery of the courtyard.
The property also required a lot of work to improve its thermal performance and structural integrity. The front room was updated and retained and the rest was built entirely new, inspired by Virginia and Sophie’s personal references: including their respective interests in raw materials and the ‘breeziness’ of architect Geoffrey Bawa’s work, spurred from Sophie’s time in Sri Lanka.
Michael says these stories are woven throughout the design, complemented by their shared love of yellow reflected in the interiors. Simple but striking concrete breezeblocks are used as walls both inside and out, alongside a relaxing blend of timber and steel.
‘Before, there were whole rooms of the house we barely entered,’ the clients say. ‘Now, the house feels like a single continuous space, every corner of which has both purpose and beauty.’
It’s a serene and personal home designed for the perfect lazy Sunday, and any given ‘sun day’!