It may be small, but thanks to its ingenious design, this multifunctional home makes family living a breeze
A three-bedroom single-storey Edwardian house in Melbourne, Australia, extended and renovated to give the family two living rooms, an open-plan kitchen-diner, a walk-in pantry, utility room and two bathrooms, one of which is en suite. The garden has a separate two-storey extension with a garage, bathroom and a flexible studio space, currently used as a spare bedroom.
main Living room
Thanks to a clever use of space, with a nip here and a tuck there, the owners of this place have managed to extend a traditional Edwardian home on a narrow plot in order to pack an awful lot of function into its now 200 sq m footprint.
The project, undertaken by architect Clare Cousins, and her builder husband, Ben, included reworking and extending the living space to replace a previous extension, which had a veranda and French doors cluttering the connection with the garden.
They spent ten months building the extension and used durable, family-friendly materials throughout, such as concrete flooring, bricks and timber on the ceiling, to prevent it looking stark.
A built-in bench stretches the length of the living room, doubling as a display surface and seating space, with room beneath to stow objects. There are no fancy wallpapers or fussy finishes here – just simple bricks on the walls and sturdy concrete on the floor.
Curved glazing makes it easier to move around this corner of the house, which is one of the main junctions, sitting between the kitchen, the two living spaces and the garden. By rounding it off, it takes up less space and feels more human and usable.
The couple shunted the kitchen back a little to create space for a walk-in pantry and a utility room that opens on to an outdoor airing room.
They also fitted a built-in desk and bar into a wall next to the dining space, which can be concealed or revealed with a perforated screen.
Simple yet ingenious changes that make family living a comparative breeze and mean the couple can catch up on emails, but still be with the children.
Rounded corners make the kitchen more child- friendly, while charcoal-coloured bricks and cabinets along the spine wall streamline the look and define this space as a work zone.
The bedrooms are in the period part of the house at the front and required little more than new flooring and painting. With more room at the back, the couple were able to add an en-suite bathroom to their bedroom, tucked neatly into the space behind the main family bathroom next door, with the showers back to back.
Vertical tiles accentuate height in the bathroom and a basin with an integrated towel rack helps keep the walls clutter-free.
See more of Clare’s work at clarecousins.com.au
Photography / Armelle Habib
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