Adding a micro area of only 5mhas transformed this home. Adapting the existing house, plus building a tiny bit more, has morphed a dark uninspiring house into an uplifting light-filled home.

The Design Brief

The first thing that struck us on first sighting was a quirky double-fronted house on a squeezy, only 7m wide, site in Fitzroy North. Once past the narrow bedrooms facing the street, there was a living room with minimal light or view to outside; a kitchen still stuck in the 1920s (with a temporary camping stove), a dark dining room that lead into the bathroom and laundry. While there were a few gorgeous art-deco features within the home, overall the home was dark, disconnected, and stuck in an era before cooking appliances were common.

“Robyn”¹ wanted (needed) a home brought into current times. One that is contemporary with generous amounts of natural light, spaces to relax, enjoy, share and interact with her garden.

A Creative Solution

The key to this house renovation is the crafty re-organisation of the existing floor plan, adding a tiny bit more building area and creating a new roofline above.

By relocating the living areas to the rear of the existing house, we were then able to tuck the kitchen, laundry and toilet functions closer to the existing bathroom and bedrooms. A new living and dining arrangement now has ready access to lots of light and ventilation with easy access to a new deck. The raked ceiling provides for an uplifting tall volume beneath the new roofline, with the additional wall height allowing for north facing windows to provide additional natural daylight.

Add a deck and some garden storage and viola ‘Robyn’ has a beautiful, practical and inspiring new home that can be shared with friends and family, as well as being a beautiful sanctuary to just be.

Features designed within the building fabric to enhance usability and reduce energy use (and bills):

  • Re-use and adapt existing building areas
  • Optimise north facing glazing (designed with overhang to exclude hot summer sun)
  • Double glazing to all new and existing windows
  • Operable windows to encourage natural cross ventilation
  • High levels of insulation to new and existing areas, including insulation to ceilings and roofs, all new walls and beneath all floors
  • Roof mounted solar hot water service
  • Rainwater harvesting with tanks hidden under the new deck and connection to toilet
  • Hydronic heating throughout
  • Ceiling fans
  • Low energy lighting

Footnote: (1) “Robyn” is not our client’s real name.

Project Team
Architect and Interior Designer
Cathi Colla Architects
Structural Engineer
Jonicha Construction Pty. Ltd.
Registered Building Surveyor
Anthony Middling & Associates Pty. Ltd.
Tatjana Plitt
Project Details
Architectural Services
Concept Design, Developed Design, Planning Permit Application and Approval, Contract Documentation, Tender and Contract Administration Services. Post Construction Services
Project Status
Construction Completed 2018

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