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Compact two-storey home for a growing young family

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Creating a sense of space within a small footprint became the central challenge for the architects behind this project

This large door and surrounding windows connect the living room with the garden

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Architect: SeventySeven Projects
Photography: Peter Bennetts

From the architect: Valiant House is the transformation of an inner-city weatherboard workers cottage into a compact two-storey home for a growing young family.

Occupying the smallest block in a secluded one-way street, the existing workers cottage was typical of its type – inherently dark and with the only outlook to the south-facing garden occurring from the bathroom.

The owners craved a connection to the rear garden and flexible spaces where kids could play or parents retreat.

Creating a sense of space within the small footprint became the central challenge around which the design revolved.

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The front portion of the house containing two bedrooms was retained, while the back of the house was re-imagined into one large open volume that stretched the full width of the site. High ceilings, mirrored skylights and glazing along the entire back wall gives the illusion of space and offers an uninterrupted connection with the garden, a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living spaces.

The service area – bathroom, laundry, and kitchen – is positioned centrally in the plan to allow the kitchen and living areas to open up fully to the garden. This central core, wrapped on all four sides in timber and with concealed doors, disguises the utilitarian aspects and gives the impression of a timber box sitting within a larger space.

The material palette of concrete, brick, timber and black was chosen for its robustness, able to endure the children's scooters and footballs whilst also exuding a clean and uncluttered aesthetic.

The existing boundary brick wall with all its imperfections – old glue, cracks and nails - has been retained and celebrated. Painted chevrons playfully reference the pitched roof forms whilst also heralding the old red-brick wall.

The additional space and flexibility of use means the house is large enough to accommodate the family both now and into the future.

First published date: 21 August 2017

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