For eight years Sarah, Nick and their three children lived in this huge gabled house in Melbourne, Australia, barely making repairs to it. The kitchen was dilapidated, the shed barely hid the leaks, and the insulation was conspicuous by its absence. It was then that the family approached Megan Norgate and her local studio Brave New Eco to articulate three basic renovation ideas: expanding the spaces, using natural materials that enhance their sustainability, and using Nick’s Preparing the house for parents, already very old, decided to move with them.
Construction from the Edwardian period (early 20th century) offered many possibilities. “We realized we could increase the functionality by redecorating some rooms and adding a two-story extension—which they did in collaboration with architecture firm Green Solar Design—that would take advantage of the attic’s tilt to accommodate a master.” bedrooms, a study and a bathroom on the upper floor and a large day space on the ground floor”, they explain to us from The Australian Study.
Exterior of house
The original four bedrooms were converted into two more spacious ones, a second living room, a corner to store coats and bags in the hallway, bathroom and toilet. The extension also added a new laundry room, dining room, third bedroom, and living room. The architects continue, “Proportions were respected, preserving a sense of verticality and openness through high ceilings and windows that connect to the garden”.
Other keys to the improvements have been materials, particularly the ubiquitous locally manufactured wood. The toilet tiles break with the neutrality of the grey, ocher and green palette in the rest of the home, “a tribute to early 20th-century craftsmanship through plant motifs,” describes the owner, Sarah . In the kitchen, a custom-built central island is designed for socializing and preparing meals while relaxing on stools made by a workshop in town.
Shelves cover a secret cupboard where brooms are hidden, much to the delight of the children. Bathrooms are bright, fun little deserts with plenty of room for plants to grow. The extension was also used to reinforce the home’s energy efficiency, improving enclosures, replacing old heating with a radiant floor system, and installing ceiling fans, among other solutions.
“We call the project the Enduring House (something like a house that endures) for its timeless beauty without being tasteful, because it is designed to change with the times and because its renovation was fraught with setbacks – The main reason is imprisonment for the pandemic – which we had to overcome,” he concluded in the study.