Brunswick Parlour by Mihaly Slocombe is a renovation designed to add value, not space, to an existing Victorian cottage in Brunswick, Melbourne.
In the words of architect Erica Slocombe, principal at Mihaly Slocombe, the project ‘resists the temptation for more, and instead focuses on enhancing and refining the existing plan to best suit its inhabitants.’
The brief for the project was to lightly touch the original front rooms of the home, while completely rearranging the rear to maximise the available space and natural light.
‘From a design perspective, our challenge was to meet all of our clients’ needs within the original shell of their home, and make every inch of the design work as hard as possible,’ says Erica.
When space is at a premium, creative thinking is required to make every last millimetre work hard, and it shows in the outcome of Brunswick Parlour.
A large steel pivot door marks the transition from the original home into the new communal spaces. The kitchen now lies at the axis of this L-shaped area, flanked by the dining and living rooms, to foster an easy flow between zones.
The entire home is optimised by new custom cabinetry, most notably in the dining room wall, which conceals a supercharged ‘Swiss army knife of utility cabinets.’ Here, camouflaged doors unfold as desired reveal the laundry, more storage space, and a retractable desk to serve as a craft area or sewing station for the house’s budding seamstresses.
Improving the environmental performance of the house was also a key driver of the project, with the existing house assessed as having less than a one star rating.
This was overcome by installing new insulation, double-glazed windows, and skylights in the both main bedroom en suite and hallway. The latter is operable, creating a passage for hot air to escape in the summer, while injecting valuable light into the centre of the home.
Throughout the home, beautiful materiality infuses the spaces with warmth and personality. Australian blackbutt timber adds a richness to the flooring and custom joinery, complemented by green kitchen cabinetry, and the earthy feel of terracotta and terrazzo tiles in the family bathroom and en suite.
The original front rooms of the house were hardly touched, with the exception of new custom cabinetry.
Brunswick Parlour proves good design doesn’t depend on space. Custom joinery ensures every item has its place, and every room is optimised to reach its maximum potential.
As an added benefit for the clients, containing the house to its original footprint negated a slew of demolition and construction costs.
Erica says, ‘Through the reorganisation of existing spaces, use of high quality materials and clever design solutions, we have been able to unlock a huge amount more amenity and enjoyment for our clients.’