This Melbourne Weatherboard Hides A Calming Garden Pavilion

Preston House by Olaver Architecture features a remarkably calming extension that brings the outdoors in.

The addition is only 45 square metres, but thoughtful renovations made way for a second bathroom, and a new kitchen, living, and dining room encased in a light-filled garden pavilion.

The updates have given an old weatherboard a breath of fresh air, and provided a much-needed sense of space for the family who live here.

Christina Karras

Preston House by Olaver Architecture.

The timber-lined extension was designed around the backyard.

Timber batons of the silvertop ash are used on the cladding and the verandah.

Sliding doors and large picture windows allow natural light and air to flood inside.

Victorian ash timber was used for the windows and the joinery.

Table, coffee table, chairs and sofa by Mark Tuckey. Pendant by George Nelson.

The open-plan living, kitchen, and dining area is lined with concrete.

Skylights make the most of the home’s northern aspect.

Curtains by Shades.

Timber furniture and textural rugs add warmth to the robust architecture.

The new ensuite bathroom.

The original double-fronted weatherboard remains intact.

Christina Karras
25th of March 2024

Like many families, the owners of this double-fronted weatherboard in Melbourne’s northeast had tinkered with the home a few times since they purchased it more than 15 years ago.

After two earlier updates, Cecilia and Gavin more recently engaged Olaver Architecture in hopes of expanding their Preston property to create new spaces before their two young children entered their high school years.

Their original brief noted that while it was still ‘a nice house to live in’, it had begun to feel a bit cramped.

In addition to creating a second bathroom, improving the kitchen, and a functional living area, the couple wanted to enhance the floorplan’s connection to the garden, and bring in more natural light.

Olaver Architecture director Emlyn Olaver managed to meet all those requirements and more with the addition of a simple ‘garden pavilion’ that spans just 45 square metres.

The front rooms were mostly retained and reworked to accommodate a new ensuite and laundry, while the existing living room was enclosed by a green wall to create a separate living space.

This left room for the extension at the rear, housing a new kitchen, dining, and living room with a study.

Emlyn says the simple renovation managed to unlock ‘the best possible flow of family life’. Most of the home’s warmth and interest comes through in its use of textural materials, including galvanised steel and Silvertop ash timber on the exterior.

Inside, concrete floors, Victorian ash joinery, soft curtains, and blonde timber furniture add to the relaxed interiors, but Emlyn says one the defining feature is the extension’s newfound connection to the garden — designed by Greenmount Landscape and Design.

A timber-lined window and sliding doors seamlessly frame the backyard, where brick pavers meet bluestone steppers shrouded in greenery.

Not only is the intimate house now better suited for the family’s lifestyle for the next 10 years, it also has the potential to remain as Cecilia and Gavin’s forever home, if and when they find themselves empty nesters in many years to come!

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