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The small house that feels big. This beach house on a clifftop site has been designed to sit within the slope and the tree canopy. It is scarcely visible from the adjoining beach. The house has a tiny footprint and has been designed with sustainability principles in mind. Despite being only 120m2 it can comfortably accommodate just the single occupant or sleep twelve.  A double bed-sized daybed off the hallway has a wall of bookshelves and creates a cosy breakout space, extra accommodation, and a great play space for children. 

The building forms angle and rotate to move around the existing trees on site. A delightful play with perspective and perception occurs as one moves through the home. For example the front of the house looks large upon approach, but is intimate as you move through it; the central north-facing deck has a wall that is almost half height, giving a sense of containment and protection but allowing distant views; and the Living room creates a tardis-like effect, seeming cosy and intimate yet accommodating the entire extended family clan comfortably. 

Varying ceiling heights in the house create intimacy, open up views and provide space for a hidden rooftop viewing deck. And around the house a number of other outdoor rooms have been created: an east terrace nestled into the hill, a north entertaining deck, a private southern deck with space for 1 or 2, and a beautifully sculpted firepit atop the hill.

The homeowners adore the site's snug setting, nestled with access to captivating ocean views. Being passionate about boating, they revel in observing the passing yachts. They note how different parts of the house come alive at various times of the year. Throughout the seasons, the house seamlessly blends indoor and outdoor spaces, enabling them to enjoy an extended living experience.

A favorite aspect for the owners is the meticulous attention given to the cabinetry, including the provision of space for eskies and boxes beneath the kitchen island counter. The architect's careful consideration of the functionality of a vacation home has left a lasting impression. These subtle yet thoughtful touches significantly enhance the comfort of staying in the house, despite its compact size.

No-one wants to spend their holiday doing maintenance so the house has been designed to be extremely low maintenance, especially the exterior that has to cope with the harsh coastal environment. Finishes have been selected for extreme durability such as the zinc wall cladding with a 60 year+ lifespan, durable Australian hardwood timber providing a high fire rating and the composite timber decking is rot-free. All that is required is to sit back and relax and enjoy the holiday.

Zinc House

Houses - New

We are calling the space the “home office” but it is equally a studio, games room, pool house, bedroom, relaxation space and a DJ booth. The Home Office was inspired by modern Japanese Architecture found in densely populated residential precincts like Aoyama, Tokyo. Through innovative design small spaces can be transformed into highly functional beautiful spaces in which to live. 

Set in a suburb with a restrictive design covenant on all buildings we managed to create a rear pavilion with the requisite masonry walls and tiled roof. The Home Office is a separate building in a residential back yard that incorporates a hidden bathroom, tool shed and rooftop deck. Linking the existing house to the new rear pavilion is a small swimming pool with infinity edge and a large timber pergola. This screens the back of the house from harsh western sun, provides a weather-protected link between the two buildings, and makes the existing deck more habitable.

Home Office

Tiny Houses/Studios/Apartments

This stunning apartment renovation seamlessly creates ample storage whilst accentuating the spacious proportions of the former chocolate factory building.

Each space in the one bedroom open plan apartment has its own unique character. We've used vertical floor to ceiling bookshelves and storage to make the large and undefined entry area into a home office and extensive library and draw attention to the high ceilings. The shelving hides a myriad of essentials including scarves, bags, bike helmets, keys, printer and art supplies, and of course a lot of books. The timber rolling library ladder gives an old-world character and allows access to books right up to the high ceiling level.

In the living room the new joinery has a horizontal form that extends the sense of space out to the windows and outside. Long low joinery and wall mounted art shelves allow for a rotating display of the owners’ extensive art collection. A custom folded raw steel stair provides easy access to additional storage space located on a mezzanine above the bathroom.

All projects by Ande Bunbury Architects have sustainability and energy efficiency at their core.

Book to the Skies

Tiny Houses/Studios/Apartments

Renovating a house with a south-facing rear orientation is always a tricky issue as the existing house blocks the light and the back garden is typically cold and overshadowed. One method used by Ande Bunbury Architects is to try to carve out part of the existing building to create a courtyard so the living areas can get access to north sunlight. Adding a second storey to such as house is even more complicated as you don’t want this to overshadow your garden. 

In Holding Court House a north- and east-facing courtyard has been located where the kitchen was previously and the upper storey extension, which houses two bedrooms, a bathroom and attic-style playroom, is located to the west side in the centre of the house. This enables the skillion roof at the very back of the house to be as low as possible to maximise sunlight to the back yard.

The new kitchen/dining/living room at the back of the house now captures lots of north sun as well as having connection to garden areas in two directions. A generous pantry and laundry were located under and behind the stairs to the upper storey. The upper floor is largely concealed in and behind the original front roof and so is scarcely visible from the street which is important in an area with established heritage houses. The extension has been perfect for the three teenage children as there are now two living areas, a study space in a corridor which provides ideal parental supervision of internet use, and a spare bedroom for guests.

The owner, Tam, is a committed environmentalist and the house already had a number of sustainability features such as solar hot water, photovoltaic panels and a rainwater tank. As part of the renovation they wanted to do a major upgrade to the thermal performance of the existing house so it was extensively renovated to install insulation to all external surfaces, all windows were replaced with double glazing and a full energy-efficiency makeover removed all gas appliances.  The house is now all-electric. Existing solar photovoltaic cells were relocated on the roof so the house is net zero in carbon. As the exported excess electricity offsets the other bills. 

All projects by Ande Bunbury Architects have sustainability and energy efficiency at their core.

Holding Court

Houses - Renovation

This job consisted of an upper storey extension to an existing Victorian cottage in inner-city Melbourne and a garage added to the side of the house to give privacy to the side garden. Despite being in a street with just about every style of housing, Council heritage requirements were really strict. The clients wanted their upper storey extension to be able to be used in a multitude of ways over time – initially the owner wished to move his photography business home and so the upper storey was designed around the size and functional reguirements to suit the photography business. Over time the upper storey may serve as semi-independent accommodation for their young adult child, or perhaps be able to be used for Airbnb. As well as the main studio room there is a bathroom, kitchenette and an alcove that can be curtained off as a bedroom. A lovely feature is the north-facing rooftop deck that provides separate private outdoor space and has views of significant local buildings whilst maintaining privacy for the occupants next door.

The extension has been designed around sustainability principles with passive solar orientation and local and durable materials. Construction was simplified by using Australian-made prefabricated Structural Insulated Panel (SIPs) wall and roof panels so the shell of the building was erected really quickly. Being an upper storey durability and low (no) maintenance was required for all external finishes.

The house is carbon neutral with a 6.66kW on the extension roof designed for optimal solar energy collection but also to relate to the pitch of the heritage front roofs. All new services are electric, as is the new car but really the garage was designed as an external covered playspace (the back is open to the garden) and for good bicycle storage. A new external toilet tucked under the stairs adds to the ease of entertaining in the back garden and alleviates a shortcoming of the existing house.

All projects by Ande Bunbury Architects have sustainability and energy efficiency at their core. This one is used prefabricated wall and floor panel and is all-electric with a large rooftop PV array and charging for an electric car

3-in-1 House

Houses - Renovation, Tiny Houses/Studios/Apartments

In a fantastic remodeling of a dreary brick veneer home from the 80s, ABA made this house worthy of its wonderful bushland site with river views.

An adaptive reuse of the existing structure was done to improve energy efficiency, functionality and aesthetics. The renovation has been done in two stages over a number of years.  This was a substantial makeover to a very average project home – literally a screening. The original house had many problems which included poor orientation, back of house functions facing the street, nobody could find the front door and small, dark rooms lined with brown exposed brick and timber ceilings.

The solution was to add extensions at either end of the building with an external decorative timber screen along the public side of the house to conceal everything in between and provide shelter from the harsh west sun. The new entry is visible from the street and we opened the living and bedroom spaces up and created large windows opening out to cantilevering decks and the view. 

A new garage and studio were added to the south end of the house continuing the line of the original building form. New external walls at the north and south end of the house are in stone cladding or radially sawn weatherboards left in their natural state to weather and blend with the landscape. Custom designed furniture, joinery and artworks repeat an elongated rectangular motif at different scale throughout the project.

At once stage the client asked us if it would be possible to have the door to the workshop hidden as part of a bookcase – to which we replied “Of course, anything is possible”.

Plenty House

Houses - Renovation

This colour-filled extension to a weatherboard bungalow in inner city Melbourne focuses on small & sustainable living. Spaces are articulated with different textures, aspect and lighting including a number of discrete outdoor spaces including a private rooftop deck. Recycled and reused materials are celebrated.

The core idea for this project was that a small house, if well designed & functional, is a good house. Without increasing the footprint, it creates a new configuration of living areas in a more practical and functional space. This enables the garden areas to be maximised & an extra garden & outdoor area was added at roof level.

Energy efficiency & sustainability were key principles, as were reusing & recycling old materials which has the added benefit of adding richness & texture.

Colour House

Houses - Renovation

The owners of this new house in Melbourne's inner north prioritized sustainability and sought to maximize productive garden space. They were also completely committed to using bicycles for transport and, with two young children, had a variety of bikes including electric cargo bikes that they wanted stored hanging inside the front hallway. The early design meetings were consumed by discussions of how the bicycle storage was going to work and this generated the roof form and height at the front of the house. It also gave the house the nickname in our office The Bike Shed House.
The brief also included three bedrooms, accommodation for visiting grandparents, separate living and dining spaces, a craft room, a study, accessibility, durability, and minimal acoustic reverberation. All this, with a budget of $700K.

Town Planning regulations often mandate a minimum front setback – in this case one third of the site. Generally front gardens serve a purely psychological function as a transition from the public to the private zone. Whilst conforming with regulations, this house design challenges the convention, comprising multiple wings oriented for passive solar gain while creating two sizable garden areas: a main north-facing garden that extends to the street and a productive rear garden. The owners love the side garden as it gives them a really good connection to the neighbourhood and they have quickly become part of the local community. The study at the front further enhances safety by offering street visibility for children playing and pedestrians at night.

Gable roof forms harmonize with the established streetscape of single-story houses. The back bedroom wing incorporates a concealed cutaway in the gable roof, allowing high-level north-facing glazing for natural light and warmth. 

The kitchen/dining area is the heart of the home, connecting to decks in both garden areas and featuring detailed joinery.

Lots of exposed internal thermal mass was used to store winter heat from the sun but this creates sound reverberation so, unusually for a residential project, the ceilings of the house are lined with acoustic panels. 

Another unique feature is the rabbit run, as pet rabbits inhabit the laundry and access the kitchen via a cat door, with a custom terracotta rabbit-hole leading to an external run.

Cost-saving measures guided design choices including minimizing internal corridors, compact bathrooms with basic fittings, and economical external cladding materials like Cypress Macrocarpa board and batten. The craft room serves as a multi-functional space with daybed and fold-down Murphy bed for guests. Accessibility features are concentrated in the front two wings, reducing expenses. Unlined reverse blockwork walls minimised linings and painting and the pasterboard ceiling lining was unpainted except for the shadowline gaps between panels and where lights and other ceiling mounted fittings were located. 

In summary, The Bike Shed House creatively blends sustainability, bike-friendliness, and community engagement while meeting diverse living needs and budget constraints.

Bike Shed House

Houses - New

The greatest challenge in this renovation/extension was getting desirable north solar access as there was a party wall on the north boundary. Through a comprehensive range of sustainability measures including a new rear two storey extension the energy performance of the house was improved from 1.7 to 6.2 stars.

The stairs to the second level had to be as narrow as possible, which meant the balustrade had to be very thin. The translucent fluted polycarbonate layer is filled with beads to add a hint of colour.

Terrace House

Houses - Renovation

How do you turn an orange brick 1950’s ugly duckling into a stunning contemporary home with good access to light and connection to garden? This house in the Eastern mid-suburbs of Melbourne only had a few good things going for it: it had 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, many of the rooms had good north-facing access, and the original part of the house had characterful steel-framed corner windows, albeit in pretty terrible condition. On the downside, the house was dark, cold, a rabbit-warren and the only view from the house to the back garden was looking straight into the shed. In addition, there was a large deciduous Box Elder tree right outside the back door which needed to be retained. 

The dark south side of the house was reassigned to service functions only, and a new courtyard. To get around small bedrooms without any storage, a number of walk-in-robes were built. New doors between living spaces open up to give more direct circulation, light penetration and views to the outside. The real highlight, however, is the tree which is now the centre around which the house revolves and provides a green shady aspect in summer and sun-filled living spaces in winter. 

The small kitchen extension turns the house around to face to the north-facing rear garden across a large deck and outdoor eating area located around the tree. Given the Mediterranean background of one of the owners outdoor entertaining is a huge focus and the deck and outdoor dining area provide this beautifully. They have recently extended this even further with a built in woodfired pizza oven & outdoor lounge area. Aperol spritz anyone?

Suburban Loci

Houses - Renovation

Studio house is an extension and reconfiguration of an existing studio space attached to a house in a former industrial building. ABA added a second storey  bedroom wing over the existing studio and reformatted circulation and storage. Sliding panels were used as a theme throughout the new rooms serving multiple functions such as window block-out shutters and allowing adaptation of the spaces to display services or collections, and use the space in multiple different ways.

The energy performance of the building was upgraded with stack ventilation and good cross-flow ventilation, double glazed windows and the addition of a large rooftop solar photovoltaic array. External shading is provided to windows via appropriately-sized eaves and adjustable folding arm blinds.

Studio House

Tiny Houses/Studios/Apartments, Houses - Renovation

This transformative renovation in West Brunswick reconfigured the existing space to create a harmonious blend of energy efficiency, functionality, and captivating aesthetics, all largely within the existing building and roof form.

The original Californian bungalow presented challenges with its circuitous interior layout, dark south-facing kitchen and poorly positioned service areas on the north side. Our client expressed a desire for added space to accommodate guests without sacrificing her cherished herb garden.

Through a meticulous and sustainable approach, we reconfigured the existing spaces to incorporate an extra bedroom and welcoming north-facing living areas. Thoughtfully repositioned doorways now facilitate seamless movement throughout the home, enhancing the overall flow and accessibility. The introduction of a cozy, new study space, strategically located in place of the previous laundry area, has become the heart of the house's design.

The newly created openness within the living areas not only streamlines our client's daily activities but also fosters a warm and inviting atmosphere, encouraging meaningful conversations and joyful gatherings among her family and friends.

One unique feature of this project was a ventilated pantry which uses warm air from the fridge motor to create a natural stack effect to draw cool air from under the house to keep the space consistently cool. The pantry storage is in wire baskets which the air can flow through and warm air is expelled through a vent in the roof. This ensures the ideal environment for storing fresh produce and dairy products and reduces the need for a large refrigerator.

Another feature were mechanical heat shifters which can be turned on equalise the temperature throughout the house or vent hot air out of the house on still hot summer nights.

Same Footprint House

Houses - Renovation

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