Text by Annie Price
When you own a period home, extending it can sometimes be a challenge. Bringing modern day conveniences into a piece of living history requires careful consideration and an understanding of the key features of the period to ensure that any alterations do not diminish the value of the home.
The owners of this mid-century gem loved living in Blackburn, a leafy eastern suburb of Melbourne, Australia.
However, they had purchased their home in a sorry state, and despite having completed some interior renovations they could see they were rapidly outgrowing it, because as with most homes of this era, it was modestly scaled. They tossed up extending, renovating, adding a first floor, and even (although briefly) a knockdown/rebuild.
They decided to team up with Alistair McLean from Secret Design Studio and later, Detail 9 Architects. The team cleverly added a master bedroom wing, mudroom, butler’s pantry, reconfigured laundry, along with additional living space and a huge basement/home gym and wine cellar.
A studio in the rear garden that would provide the kids and their friends with a hangout, a home gym and swim/spa with a family friendly outdoor entertaining area were also on the wish list. All whilst retaining the mid-century modern aesthetic.
The excavation works required for the new basement and wine cellar provided a significant design challenge for the consultant team and for the builder to execute. Teamwork was a key factor in achieving a successful outcome.
One of the most valuable assets of the property was the beautiful north-facing back garden which they definitely didn’t want to extend into. This means that the rear of the house is the original back wall of the home (with some window opening updates).
Located in a significant landscape area, strict controls are in place. The homeowners, working with Secret Design Studio, spent a substantial amount of time to achieve planning permission to undertake the project, whilst being respectful of the beautiful landscape of the area.
It was deemed the best way forward to address the needs of the client, respect the constraints of the town planning, address concerns from neighbours and to respect the original mid-century character of the house, was to extend a little bit to the east and west, have a big extension to the front (south), and to redevelop an existing outbuilding into a teen retreat/work from home office on the original footprint.
So, to the north went the new plunge pool and teen retreat space with bathroom and kitchenette. To the west, the new living room, replacing the original side facing entry but extending to the west. To the east, the new ensuite and WIR (the original house didn’t have these rooms).
To the south went the new master bedroom, new entry and new carport. The team decided that a carport with bike storage to the western boundary was a much more appropriate response to the mid-century modern roots of this home than a garage.
The result? A home that respects the past but can grow with the family into the future. Sometimes, with the right teamwork, you can have the best of both worlds!