A Poky Post-War Cottage Becomes A Mediterranean-Inspired Delight

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A Poky Post-War Cottage Becomes A Mediterranean-Inspired Delight

Architecture

by Sasha Gattermayr

The new design is centred around a north-facing courtyard that funnels light into all the communal spaces that wrap around it. This vantage is from the uppermost end of the courtyard, looking down at the guest wing which sits at the bottom of the block and faces the rest of the residence. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

Tall steel windows capture light into the kitchen. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

Indoor-outdoor connection was paramount, and creates a Melbourne-Mediterranean feel! Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

The bare steel structure will eventually be overgrown with vines and creeping foliage to create a natural green canopy over the courtyard. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

The green cabinetry and stucco render are a nod to the original house’s retro roots. The curved bench links the kitchen to the living room, which is just up the small set of steps. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

Skylights pepper the kitchen with wells of natural light. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

The bathroom is clean, fresh and contemporary. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

The front rooms were kept in original structural condition with just minor cosmetic updates made. They are all bedrooms. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

The living room sits just behind the sleeping quarters at the front of the house, with a full wall of glass facing onto the courtyard. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

An almost beachy facade! Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

When DOOD Studio were engaged to complete the renovation on a young family’s post-war brick house, it was clear that updates were necessary. But not to everything! A few distinct cornicing features and retro detailing in the original home became the inspiration for some quirky touches to the final design.

‘It was a mash-mash of classic Melbourne-Mediterranean suburbia,’ describes architect Andrew Stapleton. ‘The interiors were inspired partly by the “retro suburbia” style of the existing home. The green cabinetry and stucco render is a nod to that era.’

This feel is concentrated towards the rear of the house, where most of the renovation took place. The architects worked within the existing footprint to open up the back of the home, and reconfigure the previously poky layout into an open plan space with plenty of fluid communal zones.

‘The priority was to shift the house so that it faced north into an internal courtyard from all sides,’ explains Andrew. Connection to this courtyard would funnel natural light throughout the house, and create a pocket of greenery within the architecture.

The light and bright kitchen-dining area became the centre of the new design, opening to the central courtyard and connecting to the main living area via a sweeping curved bench seat. The front rooms were kept as bedrooms, creating a private sleeping quarters at the front of the house, while the back shed was transformed into a separate guest wing, which now sits on the opposite side of the courtyard, facing the main residence.

A steel structure in the courtyard is designed to be enveloped with creeping plants over time, rounding out a materials palette of terrazzo floor tiles and recycled red brick with lush foliage. This greenery gestures to the kitchen cabinetry on the other side of the glass, making the outdoor space a key feature in the material cohesion of the project.

This project is a lesson in achieving perfect synchrony between retro roots and contemporary liveability!

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