Inspired by the client’s brief for a minimalist, tranquil residence hidden away from the surrounding city, Modscape created an extension that would increase natural light and fresh air entering the house, while providing an open living area and intimate master retreat above.
Before works began, this Victorian-era house in Albert Park, Victoria, had closed-off, compartmentalised rooms with a tacked on, lean-to extension that resulted in a lack of light, ventilation and outdoor connection. Modscape set about transforming it into a light-filled, airy space with generous proportions.
Heritage characteristics were retained in the original portion of the house, which seamlessly opens to a light and spacious social space that stretches across the full width of the block. Large, full-height glazing – recessed into the floor and ceiling – ensures living and dining effortlessly spills outside to the courtyard and pool beyond. Protective walls extend from inside to out, creating a large internalised backyard and blurring the lines between inside and outside, old and new, open and sheltered.
Sited on a busy street, the rear extension and courtyard provide a quiet haven for the residents and creates its own aspect within the property. When sitting in the living room, light bounces off the water in the pool, producing wonderful patterns on the ceiling.
The interior utilises a timeless, restrained material palette. Natural limestone tiles run through the entire house – from the front door all the way to the bottom of the pool – linking spaces and further blurring the transition from old to new, and inside to out. These tiles were selected as a hardwearing, low maintenance option for a busy home.
The kitchen is connected but slightly separated from the main living space, allowing it to function independently. Custom-made joinery opens up to be a fully functioning work space but close down when not in use to appear like a piece of furniture. Paired-back with integrated appliances, the kitchen further reinforces the over-arching design idea to create a tranquil space devoid of clutter.
Upstairs, the master suite is made up of two modules and contrasts the openness of the ground floor. A sense of calm and intimacy is achieved through the dappled light and shadow created by a fine cedar screen that softens afternoon light and allows for daytime glimpses out while still maintaining privacy. Natural limestone tiles coupled with cleverly placed skylights create a soft, tranquil ensuite – a perfect place to relax in the tub after a stressful day.
To maximise the solar performance of the house, adequate sun shading is provided by the first-floor timber box, which overhangs two meters. This allows winter sun to penetrate deep into the home but provides vital protection from the summer heat ensuring no air-conditioning is required.
Modscape coordinated all aspects of the build including planning approval, demolition, services connections and landscaping, including the pool. The modular extension was constructed in 10 weeks, installed in a day and the clients were able to move back in shortly thereafter.
- Screenwood timber battened screen
- KELLER minimal window frames, low-e double-glazed windows
- Natural limestone tiles to floor and bathroom walls
- Cavalier Bremworth carpet to bedroom
- Bespoke oak joinery to kitchen, wardrobe and study
- Neolith porcelain benchtop
- Miele induction cooktop with integrated downdraft extractor, plus Miele oven and integrated fridge
- Astra Walker bathroom fixtures
- Abey freestanding bath
- Pitella door hardware throughout
- 2,000L rainwater tank
- Pool heated by solar panels
- Hydronic underfloor heating