When clients approached Fitzroy-based architecture and interior design firm Taylor Knights for a home renovation and extension, they emphasized their desire for a calm and comfortable retreat. The design studio responded with a light-filled modern space that soothes the soul with its abundance of windows that overlook an ivy-lined sideway and the north-facing garden beyond. The project—called the Brunswick West House—comprises the living spaces in a new 50-square-meter alteration and addition to an existing California Bungalow home in Victoria, Australia.

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The living area

windows overlooking greenery

Crafted as the home’s new “social heart,” the contemporary extension is arranged in and around three sculptural masonry walls. A stunning ivy-lined sideway was repurposed into the new entrance walkway so that homeowners and guests could access the rear extension without walking through the home’s main volume, where the bedrooms are now located. A variety of active and passive spaces were carved out from the new living room and dining area and carefully positioned to optimize outdoor views. The space has also been designed to accommodate the clients’ diverse collection of artwork and literature.

The dining room and kitchen

“As with many projects of this scale, making incisive moves early on is essential to managing the design and construction process,” said the architects. “From the beginning, the project was always about achieving ‘quality over quantity’, and our client was keen to follow through on this idea. As a result, we looked to avoid significant (and potentially fiddly) reconfiguration of the existing internal spaces by repurposing the generous ivy-lined sideway, creating a lush and unassuming new entry point at the centre of the home. This approach enables the home to operate quite cleanly and disparately in two parts of a whole: the existing rooms now accommodate bedrooms, while the addition forms the new social heart of the home.”

living room

The dining room and kitchen

Related: A Victorian cottage transforms into a light-filled passive solar abode

To reduce energy demands, the new living spaces are oriented towards the north and eaves were installed to block unwanted heat gain in the summer. The doors and windows are outfitted with energy-efficient glazing. Sustainable timber has also been used throughout the home.

+ Taylor Knights

Images by Tom Blachford