An inner city beauty needed an update. The original corner house had a graceful style, with a garden facing two streets and a generous verandah. But the siting of the house was unusual in that there was no back yard – to the rear was only a carport – and most of the open space was located along the side and front of the house.

Our approach was to maintain and refurbish the existing fabric of the house.

The only demolition we proposed was the old lean to kitchen area because, together with the client, we felt it was important to retain as much of the house as we possibly could. At ground level our addition provided new kitchen, laundry and bathroom facilities, while upstairs the house has a new master bedroom and ensuite. To the rear of the property we maintained the car space, storage and services. The original building was not altered in any substantial way other than painting, new storage units, lighting and other careful interventions to simply bring the spaces back to life in a way that is true to the original building. A new opening connects old and new and there is a seamless transition between the living, dining and kitchen areas.

The new addition is carefully crafted to perform a number of tasks in this constrained location. In form and expression it sits comfortably between the existing brick dwelling and the rear laneway, making the most of the corner location.

The shape of the new addition was carefully considered – we chose an asymmetrical gable roof that kept the height of the new construction low to the laneway side, meaning we did not impact the amount of sunlight our neighbours received during the day. The shape of the contemporary addition also reflected the shapes and forms of the original house. By stepping the new addition towards the street we were able to create direct openings as well as a new private garden courtyard that flows from the kitchen area.

The choice of materials was equally important – we used durable zinc cladding for the exterior and we purposefully used the same material for the roof and walls of the upstairs addition. The natural zinc cladding allows for a crisper detailing around windows, gutters and fascias and we felt this was an appropriate way to link the craftsmanship of the original building with the new addition. Over time the zinc will take on a patina as it weathers that will further enrich the facade. Downstairs we recycled bricks from the original house and reused them for paving and external walls. Internally we used tiles, polished concrete and laminate for the joinery. Our aim was to make the spaces feel light and connected – and we made sure that the materials sat comfortably in the environment we created rather than become a feature in themselves.

The result is a light-filled, practical marriage of old and new that the owners can enjoy for many years to come.

Roseleigh Addition

  • Year: 2017
  • Location: Fitzroy North
  • Builder: Appetite for Construction
  • Photos: Trevor Mein & Katya Menshikova

Terrace House
Laneway House
Middle Park Terrace
Long Terrace