True and tested
At Austin Maynard Architects we always aim to maximise space, relate internal spaces to the garden, embrace the street and make the most of laneways.
The site our owner purchased offered potential to achieve all of these ideas and more.
The original house, a timber clad Victorian workers cottage faces the street.
With a thoughtful internal renovation and some maintenance, the existing character was retained and enhanced.
The internal layout was re-arranged, moving the living zones (kitchen/dining/living) from the rear of the house to the front, looking out onto the street and front garden, and facing the sun.
Walls were removed and a new kitchen and bathroom installed, creating a simplified circulation.
Though the front garden and verandah didn’t change in form too greatly, it changed in function – rather that purely ornamental, it’s now a productive, working and recreational space that connects to the life on this friendly, community-rich street.
The two bedrooms and the bathroom are now located in the rear of the home, a quieter and more private location.
Welcome to the compound
The owner had always held a fascination with common shared gardens and linked adjacent houses but lack of opportunity and prohibitive cost meant owning neighbouring properties was impractical and elusive.
At the new address, we discovered another way to achieve communal living.
By creating a type of village square, or what the owner jokingly calls a ‘compound’, she and her son’s family reside individually, in separate homes, on a shared block.
With enough distance and enough garden between each cottage they both have privacy and space, but also the reassurance of help and support close by.
This factor particularly resonates with our owner, who moved to Melbourne from the UK and had herself faced the struggle of working and raising two children without any family support.
Form and materiality
The beauty of the new home at the rear of the property derives largely from the materials.
Earthy red tiles respond in tone to the light throughout the day and spill down the walls to meet reclaimed brick.
Beautiful and emotive – a nod to the owner’s love for gardening – the application of terracotta tiles as a wall cladding came from exploring the possibilities of using materials in an unexpected way.
The roof form pop-ups respond directly to siting and sunlight.
The main bedroom upstairs faces east, allowing for morning sun, while downstairs in the kitchen, dining and lounge room, an Eastern facing skylight captures the same early sun, with operable louvres to help with regulation throughout the seasons.