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William Denny

With State-house style, this brick-and-tile bungalow in Glendowie had the potential of solid bones and a retro-sized backyard. Its vintage floor-plan, however, no longer met the needs of the homeowners, a busy family with young kids. They wanted to increase the tiny footprint for more capacious living and to create a more immediate relationship with the quarter-acre lawn.

The solution was to build an addition that is a like-minded reflection of the original and position it face to face with its counterpart to sandwich a sun-dappled courtyard in the middle.

These two structures share a humble language. Built of brick, painted black, and topped by a tiled hip roof, the square-shaped forms have heft and a practical aesthetic. They are linked by a pavilion which, in contrast, is lightweight in timber and glass.

A timber wall, clad in larch, is a distinctive feature of the project and acts as an architectural connector between old and new, inside and out. The wall starts in the front yard where it screens off the garage, runs through the original house, then traverses the courtyard before slicing into the extension. Internally the wall serves to separate the public areas from the private bedroom zone.  

Clearly contemporary in spirit, the pavilion, with white walls and concrete floors, contains a generous living room that has become the hub of the everyday. In the cottage, a warren of walls were removed so that the new kitchen and dining area are an open-plan, easy flow zone.  Concrete floors echo those in the pavilion, and are softened by the warm tones of the timber spine.

Whereas the 50s home was built, as was customary, one metre from the ground, decking and the extension now offer more immediate access to the Great Outdoors. Concrete tiles in the open-plan area run seamlessly into the courtyard and full-height louvres allow cooling breezes in summer.

Although the extension has more than doubled the footprint, there is nevertheless enough room for a trampoline on the grass; a gnarled plum tree still drops summer fruit on the lawn. A careful selection of materials means this contemporised home, with a more natural flow to the garden, retains a nostalgic heart.