A Contemporary Brunswick Addition That Contorts Out Of Sight

A  major transformation has occurred inside this Brunswick, Melbourne home, though its facade appears almost exactly as it did 100 years ago.

Lisa Breeze Architect recently succeeded in restoring its original Edwardian exterior before a large three-level extension that contorts almost entirely out of street view.

The front two rooms of the original house have been retained, followed by new service areas and an open-plan domain opening to the backyard designed by Mud Office. The bedrooms and additional living spaces are located above, with a rooftop terrace on the very top level. 

The form of the addition is heavily influenced by the site (367 square metres), the desires of the clients, and Victoria’s residential design code. ‘It is an exploration into how Victoria’s ResCode, particularly the side setbacks and building envelope requirements, can lead to interesting shapes and spaces,’ explains Lisa. 

‘With inner-city homes such as this one, there is often a tension between the desired number of spaces, the surroundings such as neighbouring properties, and our planning regulations. ResCode was not written specifically for smaller inner-city blocks, so navigating the limitations of these regulations leads to challenges, and in this case, interesting forms and spaces.’

The material palette is a contemporary acknowledgement of the original Edwardian’s decorative features. For example, shingled cladding on the upper level is an abstract reference to the facade’s heritage cladding. Stained timber adds an earthy element, alongside vibrant colour across the carpet, select pink joinery, and azure living room carpet. 

Lisa is usually the one encouraging clients to use more colour, but in this instance, the inspiration came from the clients. ‘If anything, the architect needed encouraging this time!’ Lisa says. 

‘The initial inspiration images that the client presented themselves had lovely calm and muted tones with plenty of timber running through them. Perhaps after seeing some of my other projects unfold, and being exposed to ideas in general through the design process, it motivated them to explore colour here, and obviously I was happy to oblige!’

Even pets are well-accommodated in this home, with Bella the spoodle getting her own custom bed in the outdoor entertaining area. Specifying these integrated pet features has become somewhat of a signature in Lisa’s projects. 

‘I see pets as key family members and accommodating them in a home’s design is very important,’ she says. ‘On the surface it may seem frivolous and novel, although the ways that animals use the home does impact on the way humans do and vice versa.’

The completed Brunswick house offers something from everyone, from the clients themselves, to the existing neighbourhood character that’s been respected and maintained.  

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