This much loved family home was in desperate need of renovation and extension in order to meet the needs of a growing family. The result is a graceful yet playful architectural design that encourages human interaction and engagement with the outdoors. From the outset our alterations needed to respect the heritage of the double-fronted Victorian home. We started with restoration of the street façade and front rooms, retaining period features such as picture rails and rose cornices. The polished timber-floored corridor leads to a centre courtyard, the centrepiece of the new layout.

The courtyard introduces swathes of daylight, particularly to a double-height void that incorporates the stairwell to the new second level. There is a strong visual connection between the two levels as a result. The courtyard also plays a role in ventilating the home, creating a thermal chimney effect for both levels.Similar attention to passive design principles can be seen in other areas of the home. Openable skylights in several locations provide natural ventilation and lighting, as do north-facing windows. Low-energy lighting has been used throughout. The addition of a second storey provides parents with a space of their own, incorporating a retreat and master bedroom with walk-in wardrobe and ensuite. Once again we’ve used a light palette and plenty of windows to provide an open, modern feel.

The extension to the back of the house sought to resolve a lack of entertaining space while adding a durable open-plan kitchen and a dining area. Large timber-framed windows and doors open wide onto the courtyard garden outside, providing a strong sense of indoor/outdoor continuity on a warm day. The overall result was to change the previously ‘closed’ environment of the house into a very open one, very much in keeping with modern family life.

Courtyard House

  • Year: 2012
  • Location: Clifton Hill
  • Builder: PM&R Construction
  • Photos: Katya Menshikova, Matt Irwin

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