Featured project: just big enough

Featured project: just big enough


By Belinda Crestani  

Creating space where there isn’t any appears to be an act of magic.

renovation ideas 

The brief: To create a virtually bill-free residence for the 21st century in a street scape from the 19th century

With four rooms encircling a central corridor and some rooms not inviting any natural light in at all, this tiny weatherboard cottage craved a modern extension and upgrade. It was the role of Ande Bunbury Architects to maximise the sense of space in this double-fronted house with a north-facing backyard.

The body of work consisted of one bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen, living and dining areas, a study and storage space in the attic. To meet the area’s heritage requirements, the two front rooms and the original roof form were retained. Beyond this point, though, the house is new.

High and low level windows in the kitchen ensure it is well lit, with plenty of storage and bench space allowing a clutter-free zone that is also practical in its design. The view from the kitchen looks out to the neighbours’ brick wall that has stood the test of time, surviving for more than 100 years. The window over the kitchen bench adds that extra bit of space while creating warmth and texture to the otherwise neutral-toned room.

The built-in daybed in the living room is a beautiful sunny space to curl up with a book and has lovely views over the garden. At night, a light fitting behind the feature timber batten screen helps create a spectacular highlight in the lounge room. This design feature was inexpensive to create but serves a dual purpose with the timber battens at the back of the fridge space providing good ventilation for the fridge motor, which further reduces power consumption.

Service areas were internalised in the house to give good north solar aspect and garden views to the living areas found at the back of the house.

Before the home was renovated, a tiny, concrete-paved courtyard was just big enough to fit the clothes line. This new garden space, however, was kept as large as possible with a garden shed incorporated into the building form.

Good environmental performance was considered in every aspect of the design. Roof windows were added to the central rooms of the house to “catch the sky”. Facing north to improve the passive solar performance of the home, these windows provide natural ventilation when opened. Louvre windows in the attic can also be opened from the kitchen below, increasing the flexibility of the house.

There was a huge focus on materials and finishes, selected because of their low toxicity and low embodied energy. New materials and technologies were used such as powder-coated joinery and recycled plastic sheeting for kitchen cupboard doors.

Many different materials were used, creating a contrasting effect. Light and dark, textured and smooth, low and high, and open and closed are some elements that were explored and emphasised throughout the home.

Every trick was used to optimise the potential of this home. There’s plenty of well-designed storage and rooms that can be inhabited in different ways, increasing the functionality of each zone without the need to add an extra area. Simplicity of finishes and seamless the resolution of detail add to the atmosphere of spaciousness and calm.

Sustainable features:
• North solar access to living areas.
• Light shafts provide ventilation and natural light to service areas.
• Service areas have been relocated to the west side of the house.
• Internal thermal mass.
• Double glazing and timber window frames.
• Low-toxicity materials and finishes.
• Gas heating and water solar heating system with gas boost.
• Low-energy light fittings.
• Recycled timber feature wall acts as breathing space for the fridge to reduce heat load on fridge motor.
• Large water tanks can be found at the front and rear of the home, providing water for shower, laundry and sanitary.

Photography Patrick Redmond 

Designed by: 
Ande Bunbury Architects
L 1, 462 Smith Street, Collingwood VIC 3066
Tel 03 8682 8792
Email info@abarchitects.com.au
Web www.abarchitects.com.au

Built by: Aztec Builders
Tel 03 5974 4685

Highly Commended in Innovation in Sustainable Building Design Award, Yarra Sustainability Awards 2010

Kitchen, dining and living: Polished concrete slab with reclaimed blue metal aggregate and 35 per cent slag substitution for cement content. Water-based polyurethane sealer
Bedroom: Existing Baltic pine floorboards, Kaldet Ebony stain and Livos oil sealer by Anro Floorcare
Outdoor: Generic concrete pavers laid on sand bed for stormwater infiltration

Internal walls: Wattyl Interior Design i.d range; Dulux Whisper White
Ceiling to bathroom and bulkheads: Wattyl Interior Design i.d range; Dulux Brood
Feature wall in living: Wattyl Interior Design i.d range; Dulux Mud Puddle
Exterior: Fibre cement walls rendered Wattyl GranoTex/GranoSkin system; Wattyl Budding Bough
East wall: Wattyl Solagard; Dulux Baltica Weatherboard walls: Wattyl Solagard; Dulux Jungle Moss

Benchtop: Laminex Eclipse 822 Flint finish
Splashback: 10mm laminated Colourback glass in Dulux Whisper White
Cabinetry: Carcases: E0 MDF melamine-faced board by Alpine MDF Industries; underbench door fronts: 19mm black recycled polyethylene sheet available through Construction Plywood Sales. Other cupboard fronts: powder-coated paint finish to MDF (no vocs) by Orica Trimatrx, powder-coating applied by CSA Innovations
Gas oven & cooktop: Electrolux Chef GOC673
Dishwasher: Smeg SA 945 (450mm wide) with integrated front
Sink: Oliveri Manhattan M070U

Bathroom fittings

Cabinetry: E0 water-resistant MDF
Benchtop: Quarella Bianco Carrara reconstituted stone. Powder-coat paint finish to MDF (no VOCs) by Orica Trimatrx, powdercoating applied by CSA Innovations
Basin: Comby 108650 from Arlingford House Wall tiles: Johnson Structures White Satin tile from Buckley Ceramics. Laminex wet area panelling with Polar White Glaze finish
Floor finish: Polished concrete
Sanitary fixtures: Caroma Leda Smartflush 3L/4.5L dual flush
Taps: Astra Walker wall taps and plate 69490BR
Shower base: Marbletrend
Bath: Reece Mizu

Downlights: Megaman GU10 SQ Slotter downlight in silver finish from EnviroShop
Bathroom: Oscar series wall lamp in silver finish from United Global Enterprises
Wall lights: IT3 MCH DE wall up-and-down light in matt chrome finish. Converted from halogen sitting to suit a standard screw or bayonet fitting for 18W warm white compact fluorescent from United Global Enterprises

Windows + doors
Double-glazed hardwood frames by Sette Brothers

Front tank: 3640-litre BlueScope galvanised aquaplate water tank
Rear tank: BlueScope Waterpoint Slimline 3000-litre First-flush diverter. Davey RainBank switching device

Solar hot water: Solahart Freeheat 302J (300 litre)
Gas heater: Rinnai Energysaver 308FTR