Colour me house

Issue 29 Words: Verity Campbell Photography: Emma Cross
Metro Melbourne
  • Ande Bunbury’s design maximises space with only a slight increase in the building footprint, allowing plenty of space for growing food.
  • The original 1960s cabinetry was reinstalled into the new kitchen.
  • The landing serves as a natural clothes drying room with a high-level drying rack.
  • The deck can be used as an outdoor bedroom for extremely hot nights, while stairs to it act as a thermal chimney to exhaust hot air from the house.

The renovated inner Melbourne home of cartoonist Judy Horacek and writer and academic Francesca Rendle-Short is a celebration of colour and light and the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle.

Like many homes of the era, the double-fronted weatherboard was dark, draughty and uninsulated – stifling through summer, freezing in winter. The couple enlisted Ande Bunbury Architects to open it up. Ande’s brief was to keep as much of the garden as possible, minimising any increase to the home’s footprint. The couple “didn’t want a big square box at the end of the house”, but they did want a variety of views and a feeling of openness – a flow from house to garden wherever possible. “The core idea for this project was that a small house, if well designed and functional, is a good house,” says Ande.

Ande’s first challenge was to work out how to introduce more natural light and ventilation into the east-west block. The house to the north was built right on the boundary, overshadowing the entire length of the home. Ande set to work reconfiguring the existing dwelling, introducing windows on the northern facade and switching the bathroom with the original south-facing dining room. A courtyard was introduced to the south of the home to bring in light and ventilation to the kitchen and bathroom areas, and to provide a cool air inlet for the ventilated pantry under the stairs.

The main living areas were moved to the north of the property. The new open plan kitchen, dining and living area overlooks the garden, and opens through picture-window sliding-doors to a new courtyard. A skillion roof and clerestory windows draw in northern light.

The renovation introduces a private rooftop deck to the north. The deck is accesssed from the stairway, which incorporates external bike storage, a pantry and drying space, while also acting as a thermal chimney to exhaust hot air during summer.

The kitchen is a standout. “I have to give full credit to the clients for the kitchen,” Ande laughs. Judy and Francesca opted to retain their original 1960s kitchen cabinetry, but it was Ande’s openness to the idea, they state, that won her the job. “There probably aren’t a lot of architects willing to reinstall old kitchen cupboards into a shining new space,” says Francesca.

ShareShare on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter
Cover of Issue 29
You can read more about Colour me house in Issue 29 of Sanctuary magazine.

Buy it now at our webshop!

Sanctuary: modern green homes is Australia’s premier magazine dedicated to sustainable home design. More...

Subscribe to our newsletter



Ande Bunbury Architects


Sheringham Construction


Brunswick, VIC


House 134 sqm

Land 377 sqm

View houses by state