Slice Of Heaven
For this Victorian bungalow, a new two-storey addition is space craftiness at its best.
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?”