Slice Of Heaven

For this Vic­to­rian bun­ga­low, a new two-storey ad­di­tion is space crafti­ness at its best.

Australian House & Garden - - Contents - STORY Stephen Crafti | STYLING Ju­lia Green | PHOTOGRAPHY An­nette O’Brien

Like many home makeovers, An­drea and Matthew Arend­sen’s ren­o­va­tion was sparked by a need for more space. Their up­dated sin­gle-storey ter­race in Mel­bourne’s south-east was much loved, but as their sons Alexan­der, now 16, and Chris­tian, 10, grew, it was sim­ply too squeezy. Re­luc­tantly, the cou­ple sold up, plan­ning to rent un­til a suit­able house pre­sented it­self.

As luck would have it, a 1920s red-brick bun­ga­low came up for sale just a few kilo­me­tres away. In al­most orig­i­nal con­di­tion, it pre­sented an op­por­tu­nity to ex­tend into the com­fort­able fam­ily home the Arend­sens were af­ter. “We were hooked from the first in­spec­tion,” says An­drea, who was cap­ti­vated by the leafy street as well as the gen­eros­ity of the 687m 2site. They turned to ar­chi­tect Al­bert Mo, di­rec­tor of Ar­chi­tects EAT, with whom they had en­joyed work­ing on their pre­vi­ous ren­o­va­tion.

The struc­ture was sound so Al­bert and his team were able to re­work what they had, a big plus for the bud­get. At the front of the home, a small bed­room next to the main bed­room was re­pur­posed as an en­suite and an ad­ja­cent en­closed porch as a walk-in wardrobe. The ex­ist­ing liv­ing room was con­verted into a din­ing room, the kitchen be­came an in­ter­nal court­yard, and a new open-plan kitchen/liv­ing room was added at the rear.

A smart Co­rian-topped is­land bench is the star of the new kitchen. Tucked be­hind a wall of stor­age is a but­ler’s pantry, the laun­dry and a me­dia nook that is used for house­hold ad­min. On the east­ern wall, a servery win­dow opens to a pool­side din­ing zone – a boon when en­ter­tain­ing.

A rudi­men­tary lean-to at the rear of the house was de­mol­ished and re­placed by a two-storey ex­ten­sion with a strik­ing 6.4m-high ‘in­ci­sion’. Clad in fi­bre ce­ment, the in­ci­sion fea­tures full-height pan­els of glass (in­clud­ing an op­er­a­ble win­dow) as well as a glass roof over an in­ter­nal void. “The glaz­ing was cru­cial,” says Al­bert. “Get­ting light into the core of the home was piv­otal to the de­sign, and that re­quired some con­sid­er­a­tion given the site is ori­ented east-west.” An­drea says she loves the com­plex­ity of the ex­ten­sion: “We didn’t want a sim­ple glass box tacked onto the back of the house”.

A per­fo­rated-steel stair­case leads to the first floor via a walk­way sus­pended above the new liv­ing room. Up­stairs is the boys’ do­main: two bed­rooms, a shared bath­room and a fam­ily room with views over the pool and gar­den.

Con­nect­ing the home to the gar­den, de­signed by land­scape ar­chi­tect Mira Marti­nazzo of Mud Of­fice, formed an im­por­tant part of An­drea and Matthew’s brief to Ar­chi­tects EAT. “The gar­den means a lotto the fam­ily so we wanted to cre­ate unim­peded sight lines to the out­doors from ev­ery room in the house,” says project ar­chi­tect Sarah Ma­gen­nis, who worked closely with Al­bert. To achieve this, the ar­chi­tects em­ployed pic­ture win­dows and both slid­ing and piv­ot­ing doors. Some doors, such as those ad­join­ing the north-fac­ing deck and court­yard, can be opened right up to the kitchen/liv­ing area to cre­ate one seam­less space. To fur­ther blur the di­vi­sion be­tween indoors and out, the stair­case to the first floor ex­tends be­yond the build­ing line. Painted a zesty lime green on the un­der­side, it pro­vides vis­ual in­ter­est too.

The Arend­sens are de­lighted with their new abode, but have found one draw­back. “We’ve be­come more re­luc­tant to go away for hol­i­days,” says An­drea. “With ev­ery­thing we have here, why would we?”

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