Green in between

Issue 28 Words: Emily Braham Photography: Chris Neylon
Brunswick, VIC
  • Zoned spaces and thermal mass in the insulated concrete floor and recycled red brick walls help keep this Brunswick townhouse cosy in winter.
  • The sandy-hued, rendered frontage doesn’t seek to turn heads, resting comfortably amid the inner-suburban mix of period-style and inter-war housing.
  • Warmth is stored in the recycled redbrick wall, which separates Fiona and Bill’s bedroom from the garden and internally in the Husqvarna concrete floor.

Downsizing from a large suburban weatherboard to an early twentieth century cottage in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Brunswick delivered much more than location for Fiona and Bill Morris.

When Fiona and Bill Morris sought a new home for their approaching leisure years, their top considerations were a reduced carbon footprint and access to amenities and public transport. Downsizing from a large suburban weatherboard to an early twentieth century cottage in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Brunswick delivered much more than location: their substantially renovated home has a compact and responsive exterior with flexible living spaces.

A year after moving in, the couple has no regrets. “We don’t miss the big house,” Bill says. Fiona agrees: “It (the renovated cottage) is actually so spacious in some ways – it has really surprised me. And it’s so much easier to look after.”

For designer Sven Maxa of Maxa Design, the site had potential, but was not without its difficulties – including the limited size of the block, significant shading from neighbouring properties and planning permission hurdles.  “It was a compact dwelling, so there were a few challenges,” he says. “It was also important to consider it as a retirement home and ensure ongoing liveability. I wanted to make it easy to live in.”

The reward is a modern and modest (162sqm) energy-efficient dwelling with a surprisingly versatile interior and a softly stylised blend of materials. The sandy-hued, rendered frontage doesn’t seek to turn heads, resting comfortably amid the inner-suburban mix of period-style and inter-war housing. Instead it’s the hidden, multi-layered expansion at the rear that steals the show. Inside, hidden corners allow for a stacked library and storage below the studio, which offers room for entertaining and a creative escape for both Fiona and Bill.

Judges at the BDAV Building Design Awards were impressed too, awarding the project best residential Environmental Sustainable Design and the Residential Design for Alterations and Additions between $200,001 and $500,00.

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Cover of Issue 28
You can read more about Green in between in Issue 28 of Sanctuary magazine.

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Credits

DESIGN
Maxa Design

BUILDER
Profast Constructions

PROJECT TYPE
Alterations and Additions

PROJECT LOCATION
Brunswick, VIC

COST:
$450,000 (inc. professional fees)

SIZE:
House 162 sqm exc garage;
Land 242 sqm

BUILDING STAR RATING:
7.4 Stars

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