Melbourne’s terrace homes are stunning examples of residential architecture, but they often suffer from one major problem—a lack of natural light. When the owners of a dark and cramped Victorian in the suburb of Carlton sought to dramatically improve their home on a tight budget, they turned to Austin Maynard Architects.
The firm left the front and rear of the Newry House largely untouched while reconfiguring the dark and poorly laid out midsection through a “keyhole surgery.” The result is an open kitchen, dining, and living area that brings garden greenery inside.
As stated by the architects, “In a space that is already tight, the question was, why take away indoor space to capture outdoor space? Instead, we focused on the conservatory idea—a glass house which brings the outdoors inside, with responsive sliding shade awnings to shield from too much sun.”
Thanks to the introduction of a glass roof, the main living spaces are now filled with an abundance of natural light and plantings that are directly integrated with the interiors. The subdued color palette of white and warm wood tones is accented by bold pops of color that create surprising moments of delight.
In addition to opening up the space, the firm replaced the old timber floor with a thermally efficient, hydronically heated concrete slab. Simple building skin modifications, such as refitting the doors and windows, have taken this early ’90s home from breezy and cold to thermally sound.
Throughout the project, the architects followed an ideology of design better, not bigger. Through a relatively simple intervention, this small family home has been dramatically transformed into a warm and bright dwelling complete with its own private garden.