North Fitzroy house
The brief for this small Victorian terrace was to convert its one-bedroom frame into a functional and good looking home for four. The decision was made not to expand the downstairs footprint as a backyard and garden were paramount, instead adding a timber clad structure upstairs and letting our existing courtyard and Ash tree guide the design. Natural light and a feeling of space were injected into the downstairs spaces by removing an internal wall to let the original north-facing window shed light and warmth from front to back and by opening the terrace up to its backyard by replacing a defunct old fireplace and single door with generous double-glazed timber-framed doors. The add-on galley kitchen was given a new lease of life by lifting its ceiling as well as reinsulating and recladding its rotten weatherboards with the same cutek-coated stringybark used to clad the upstairs structure. Large double-glazed timber framed windows were also added for more light and to capture the morning sun. The add-on laundry was moved under the stairs to allow more space for the downstairs bathroom.
The upstairs structure largely mimics the L-shape of the downstairs footprint, but is set back for heritage reasons and to allow for a northern deck. Overhangs borrow extra space for the ensuite, robes, and kids' bedroom, while also adding architectural interest and giving the sense that the structure is perched in the trees. Drenched in light and warmth, there are windows to the north and south of the ensuite, sliding doors opening up to the deck and full height windows to the east, spanning from the study back of the kids bedroom. The study is perfectly positioned at the top of the stairs, so that it benefits from morning and afternoon sun from the open master bedroom.
Finishes were kept simple to create a relaxed and interconnected feel with timber flooring throughout and cement sheet cladding in the kitchen and ensuite. Existing finishes were retained where possible, including a brick wall we exposed in the downstairs bathroom which also acts as the kitchen splashback.
The courtyard section of the backyard is paved with the original red bricks from the demolished chimney, followed by a larger section of quartz paving softened with baby tears and garden area at the back. The terrace also enjoys greenery from a row of pear trees that screen the apartment building behind, and borrows space from the laneway to the east.