An Architect’s Own Calming and Compact Family Home

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Wedged in around converted warehouses, new apartment buildings, and car parks is the home of architect, Lisa Breeze, of Lisa Breeze Architect. While looking for a new home with her husband, Lisa came across this Victorian weatherboard cottage in Northcote and could see a great project.

The house’s condition could have been better, with it being quite draughty and dark and a rabbit-warren layout that cut off access to the backyard. Lisa wanted to take this two-bedroom Victorian cottage and squeeze a third bedroom in, revamp the wet areas, and have a comfortable light-filled kitchen, dining and living area.

Lisa, the architect, wanted to retain the charm of the Victorian cottage, including the front two rooms, however, the questionable extensions were to be replaced. Melbourne building company, Never Stop Group, was brought in to realise Lisa’s vision for her future family home.

When you approach from the street, the Victorian cottage facade is kept, and inside the original two rooms act as the main bedroom and a home office for Lisa Breeze Architect. What was originally the dining area, was transformed into a third bedroom, and the living area became a bathroom, toilet, laundry cupboard and powder room space. An archway draws you through to the main living area, with a kitchen and meals area, a hidden work-from-home cupboard, and a living area that opens onto the east-facing backyard.

In order to squeeze everything in, Lisa designed the extension boundary to boundary, which meant everything needed to be efficient and practical. For example, the meals area overlaps with the kitchen, with a built-in window seat providing additional storage. Without being able to include windows to the side, the majority of the east-facing facade is glass, as well as a skylight, allowing natural light to flood the living areas.

Lisa wanted to use materials that were practical, not necessarily showy. While weatherboard and brick are fairly standard building materials, their composition and detail elevated the interest. The interiors feature a lot of soft blues for their calming effect, which is contrasted with some steel greys to reference the nearby warehouses.

Lisa’s family home is quite modest by Australian housing standards, at 105m2, and it is a great advocacy for keeping footprints of homes small and within your means. With overlapping spaces and functions, excess and wasted space is not present, which from a sustainability standpoint, is crucial. “I think there’s a lot to be said for other parts of the world in denser cities where the vast majority of people live in apartments and smaller spaces. We can take some of that on board in our Australian homes and make the most of smaller spaces.”

Website article with photographs*;

* Please note, at the request of the architect/owner, the floor plan is unavailable.

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