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?