When a family of four outgrew their 1920s cottage in Melbourne and were about to embark on an extensive renovation, they asked Australian design studio Inbetween Architecture for a second opinion on the blueprints. Impressed by the consultation, the clients ended up scrapping their plans and instead put their faith in Inbetween Architecture to lead the redesign, one which would be more sensitive to the family’s lifestyle — and their chickens and honey bees. Affectionately called the “Urban Barnyard House,” the renovated and expanded residence combines rustic influences with contemporary elements into a comfortable home for the family and their beloved animals.
Before expanding the original house, a two-bedroom Edwardian weatherboard cottage, the architects first sat down with the family to understand their daily routines and needs so as to create a responsive and flexible design solution. The clients’ answers informed the layout of the Urban Barnyard House. For example, the kitchen is placed in the heart of the home and the dining area is located to the east to take advantage of morning light as well as the embrace of indoor-outdoor living. The existing building was reconfigured to house three bedrooms and a new entry hall while the communal areas were relocated to the new rear extension.
To minimize the time the family had to spend outside the home during renovation and construction, the architects built the extension with simple construction and a truss roof and also added a small “link” space that serves as a transition zone from the existing structure to the new building. An outdoor deck was inserted between the new extension and an existing timber shed in the south side of the property. Large windows and a natural materials palette tie the house to the landscape, which includes a productive urban backyard for beekeeping and raising chickens.
“Free and easy indoor-outdoor living (and a productive urban backyard!) suggested that while the home needed to be robust, there was an element of playfulness that could be accommodated,” said the architects, who designed the home with humans and animals in mind. “The contemporary extension sits comfortably within its more traditional context. Sentimental elements of the original house, such as the fireplace bricks, solid timber paneled doors and a stained glass window, were salvaged and reused in new locations.”
Photography by Nic Granleese via Inbetween Architecture