LocationElwood VIC 3184, Australia
From the architect. Elwood House features the adaptive reuse and transformation of a cold, dark and inefficient 1915 Edwardian house into a warm and light filled family home that has direct connections to the outside.
On approach the new extension is hidden behind the steep roof line of the original house. The large existing roof space of the original part of the house has been adapted to accommodate two bedrooms, a children's playroom and a family bathroom. The upper level volume of the new extension is kept minimal to ensure a human scale at ground level.
Operable skylights sit within the existing roof to provide natural daylight and ventilation into the upper floor bedrooms. The angled ceiling lines and modest heights are complemented with splashes of bright paint colours providing playfulness to these children’s spaces.
On the ground floor a skylight has been inserted into the guest bathroom to bring light into the centre of the floor plan and a neatly concealed large door sits at the base of the brightly coloured teal carpeted stairs that separates the new living zone from the old.
The fabric of the existing house has been adapted respectfully in the new extension. The rear roof to the existing lean-to-addition was retained to house a new study and laundry. The original painted bricks to the eastern side of the house are exposed and sandblasted to create a threshold between the old and the new and allow the occupant to clearly differentiate between the two. This similar honesty to the original elements of the house carries through to the new kitchen where the original rear brick wall of the house is again exposed to the new kitchen.
Externally, an expansive concrete block wall to the southern boundary, along with a strategically placed high overhanging roof to the north provides a visual barrier from the neighbouring block of two storey units which previously overlooked the rear garden. Internally this exposed wall serves as a textural backdrop for hanging artwork and links the new living spaces within the open plan extension. Steel framed doors are located at each end creating a strong visual link between both the existing and new outdoor areas.
The new material palette of concrete block, brick, timber and polished concrete complement the original red brick and stucco house. Full height north-facing steel framed doors and windows allow natural light into the new living area extension opening up the new living spaces to the rear garden.
The generous eaves allow for direct sunlight in winter but shade the interior in summer. This allows the thermal mass of the polished concrete slab and masonry walls to keep the living, dining and kitchen areas warm in winter and cool in summer. Black glazed bricks were selected for the dividing fireplace element between the living and dining areas accentuating the drama between textures and materials.
This small project on a tight budget has been a wonderful journey with a trusting client and a dedicated construction team.