North Fitzroy house

The brief for this small Victorian terrace was to convert its tiny one-bedroom frame into a functional and good looking home for four. This needed to happen on a restrictive budget and within a tiny 118-metre-square block. The downstairs footprint was was left much the same and a feeling of space was created by removing an internal wall, lifting the add-on kitchen ceiling and opening up the house to the backyard by removing the ramshackle windows and doors and replacing them with generous Victorian-Ash-framed windows in the kitchen to the east and large-double doors in the dining to the south. A lightweight structure was added upstairs to provide a master bedroom with ensuite opening onto a deck, a study, and a bedroom for two young children. Cantilevering was used to gain extra space for the bathroom, robes and kids bedroom, while adding architectural interest. The structure also envelopes a decent-sized elm tree, which makes the ensuite to the south and the study and kids bedroom to the east feel as though they're perched in the trees.

The use of timber cladding and hardwood window and door frames, together with cement sheet in the kitchen and bathroom and timber floors throughout create a relaxed and interconnected feel. The extension has also left a relatively generous innercity backyard, half paved in red brick from the original structure and shade-liking tall fescue as well as a veggie garden to the back. The owners love their new home.

Photography by Martina Gemmola