Today’s family home is a house that allows for separate spaces for parents and their growing teenagers. The Fuller house design cleverly exploits an oddly shaped site to create an energy efficient space combining privacy and conviviality.
The brief was to find a North-oriented space, at a walking distance from public transport to significantly reduce car use, with a generous living space, a bedroom for each child and the parents.
David Nock, director of 1:1 Architects in Melbourne and Sabine Cotte, a painting conservator, worked together to transform the 634 sqm unusual block (a triangle and a rectangle combined) and its 1920 house into a modern accommodation split into two different entities. They fully exploited the block’s two street frontage and imagined two buildings revolving around a central garden area. These light-filled and sustainable living spaces acknowledge for both teenagers and parents’ need for privacy. The children’s building, set in the triangle part of the block, can be either kept as guest rooms or re-thought for a new purpose when the children move out.
The original house layout didn’t take advantage of the site’s North orientation, with a laundry and storage room blocking sunlight entry. To bring the light back into the building and benefit from passive heating, the North part of the house was demolished, creating a large courtyard area. In the remaining part, the internal walls were knocked down and the roof was lifted to create a light-filled open plan kitchen and living space with full height glazing on the north side. The South part was conserved, with one bedroom being cleverly split up into a butler pantry opening to the kitchen and an ensuite opening to the master bedroom. The two derelict sheds at the back of the property left place to a modern one storey kids house with two bedrooms, one bathroom and a rumpus room.
The central courtyard is the meeting point between the two buildings. Efficient landscaping includes a low maintenance garden, with native herbs and flowers, as well as a vertical herb garden. Lush lavenders, flagstone paving and gravel give a Mediterranean feel to the courtyard, with a large wooden table for al fresco dining. The main building’s French doors and windows can slide, expanding the boundaries of the house to integrate the outdoor and indoor spaces into one living area. Although separate, both houses face each other, maintaining a social link between family members.
Sustainability was present in all stages of the house design. David and Sabine reused most of the materials from the demolished house. Old bricks were used for the courtyard façade and the crazy paving leading to the kids’ house. The old floorboards became the master bedroom’s bed head while the trusses were converted into bathroom shelves and a mantelpiece. The foundation bluestones found a new life as garden bed’s boundary.
Energy footprint is kept low: water tanks are used for clothes washing and flushing water, solar tubes and skylights wash the house’s interior in natural light most of the day. Solar panels on the roof produce three quarters of the energy consumed by the family. Lastly, veggie patches in the front garden supply home grown products for family dinners. –
Open plan kitchen and living space.
Open plan kitchen and living space.
Full height glazing on the North side of the living open space, opening to the courtyard area.
Master bedroom with re-used floorboard as a bedhead.
Kids’ house seen from the courtyard area. Wall paintings made by Sabine Cotte.
Courtyard area with low maintenance garden, paving flagstone and large outdoor table.
Main entry, open plan living space, laundry block with high level windows.
Ensuite opening to the master bedroom.