This hundred-year-old worker’s cottage in Yarraville was renovated with a cutting edge approach to sustainability. We were fortunate to be engaged by local sustainability consultants Melbourne Vernacular who wanted to use their home as an educational space for showcasing design that achieves an uncompromising standard of style, liveability and environmental performance.
The clients were not just mindful of the design, but of the building process itself, requesting to keep as much of the original structure as was feasible. They painstakingly took down parts of the old house and identified opportunities to reuse as many existing materials as possible. The original red brick paving from the backyard now serves as an internal feature wall and an external brick wall. Locally quarried bluestone that long functioned as the property’s carriageway now marks the entry to their home. The original red gum stumps are a striking feature in their green roof landscaping. The kitchen was made by local company Cantilever Interiors using reconstituted stone by Consentino made up of 80% recycled content with a low VOC finish.
Altereco Design employed a savvy design approach that enables passive heating and cooling inside; not only does the aforementioned red brick wall create a pleasing aesthetic, it performs as thermal mass for the building. What differentiates this sustainable home is it’s use of smart technology to optimise use of solar energy, significantly lowering running costs. And when it came to the great outdoors, “water wise” and native plants were used in the garden beds, all of this topped off with an insulating green roof that creates additional outdoor space on the tight inner-city block.
This industrious approach to build and design reduces wasted energy (often synonymous with demolishing the old and building something shiny, modern and new), all the while successfully preserving and celebrating the certain charm that comes with a house of this era.
To register for their next open house jump onto their website where you can also learn about a range range of consulting services they offer for renovations, new builds and existing homes.
A simple pavilion structure in a well-established garden setting.
Working with an existing 1850s Bluestone Terrace house in Williamstown, Victoria, we created a modern space for daily living, which appreciated and enjoyed its connection with a well-established landscaped backyard.
Preserving and celebrating the original Bluestone of this heritage property was the main focal point of design of this house.
To create minimal contact and impact on the Bluestone wall, we created a small incision in the existing brickwork, in order to create a door portal between the old and the new.
No air conditioning has been installed, which is pretty impressive, considering the amount of glass incorporated into the new design of this heritage property.
However, due to the house being located close to the sea, we installed north facing double sash windows, which have been fixed directly to the solid timber posts throughout, eliminating the need for any additional framework, and also provides excellent ventilation of the local sea breeze throughout each space – cooling the house naturally, without the need of an air conditioner.
These windows also allow an abundance of natural light to stream throughout the house, reducing the need for always needing light on – especially in the day.
Surrounded by its well-established garden, this heritage property has been renewed with a new life, leaving a lasting impression of what can be done with modern architectural designs in preserving historical homes in Australia.
Idyllically set among Victoria’s coastal bushland on the Mornington Peninsula, this was a replacement building for a fiberglass shack that has grown into a permanent residence and a holiday house for extended family.
The site is situated well back on the block with the living area 12m from the front boundary. A large stone wall creates a visual barrier between the main road - allowing the client to interact with the outside and enjoy blissful privacy.
The main part of house celebrates the space with high ceilings and large windows that bathe the main living room and the client’s own retreated bedroom in natural light. We created a separate unit upstairs for the kid’s to isolate and entertain themselves that is fully fitted out to suit their needs.
The simplistic vibe was achieved by using pale timber veneer, white cabinetry and lime washed floorboards in ‘Kilimanjaro Hand-Scraped Oak’. The floors have the added bonus of disguising sandy footprints creating an elegant yet practical solution.
The main living space includes a generous open-plan kitchen that is centrally positioned to take in surrounding views, and a lounge perfect for entertaining. We wanted to enhance the experience of the idyllic surrounds and optimise the setting without competing with the view, instead blending in subtle finishes and timber elements. After identifying that the owners are keen cooks we included a butler’s pantry which doubles up as a prep area, allowing for a striking central island bench to become a social hub when entertaining. We used lots of squared edges elsewhere in the room, adding a curved cantilever section at the end - helping to soften the sharp angles and create balance.
Two story residence on coastal golf course estate in Barwon Heads.
Family of four (including one avid golfer!) .
The brief was to create a functional modern residence for a young professional couple while respecting and retaining the charm of their existing 260 sqm Victoria weatherboard cottage. Demolition of rear lean-to rooms and incorporation of existing studio on the near boundary were also required.
The design incorporates a traditional timber house with modern additions that are emphasised through timber cuboid forms (stomp boxes) both internally and externally. Bringing the courtyard forward on the site draws north light into the heart of the home, making it a focal point for the house.
The simple white palette is warmed and balanced with the extensive use of recycled messmate timber. The timber acts as a statement meaning everything else is secondary, from the neutral concrete floor tiles to the island workbench which is contrary to most kitchen designs. The timber is perfectly displayed by quirky yet practical ensuite and panty box rooms.
The result is an airy light filled house, with the charm of the old and practicality of the contemporary - while enabling the quirky style of owners to shine through.
BDAV’s 2013 Building Design Awards:
Residential Design - Alterations and Additions $200K-$500k Construction Cost
Two story residence in Barwon Heads.
Single story residence in Ocean Grove.
Single story house Queenscliff.
A 175m square meter two story modern home that has been squeezed onto a subdivided block in Yarraville; Melbourne's Inner West. The block is sandwiched between a railway line and houses.
A bright yellow door defines the entry and sets the tone for a series of citrus pops throughout the house. We wanted to create a blank canvas with a good mix of materials, textures and basic colours which would allow for what the owners had collected over the years to pop out.
With such a tight site, we decided to flip the house upside down devoting the upper level to an open plan living, dining and kitchen area.
We made use of recycled timber throughout the open living upstairs which brings warmth and texture to the space. The timber has a dual advantage of hiding cupboards, which with a small brief it is important to use space wisely.
We managed to squeeze a small terrace area on the upper level. The screening panels, while blocking out the trains, are positioned at a height where the owners can look up and see plenty of sky and enjoy the sway of the peppercorn trees in the breeze. .