Design workshop: Space to play

Issue 32 Words: Tim Ellis of Glow Design Group
Kingsville, VIC
  • Tim's suggested design, which makes the most of the nothern aspect along the side of the property.
  • Nadya and Robert have lived in their charming weatherboard cottage in Melbourne's inner west for 11 years and love its period features and location, but as a burgeoning family of five, they are itching for more space.
  • Nadya and Robert have grown fond of their characterful neighbourhood, which is conveniently located and peppered with community touches, such as this Telstra pillar masquerading as R2-D2 from Star Wars.

With three growing children, Nadya and Robert’s family is bursting out of its two-bedroom Edwardian cottage in Melbourne’s inner west. Tim Ellis of Glow Building Design offers suggestions for more space and less environmental impact.

Nadya and Robert have livedin their weatherboard cottage in Melbourne’s west for 11 years and have grown attached to its period charm and the surrounding community. But the family of five needs some breathing room. They’re hoping for north-facing living and dining to make the most of their love for communal cooking, while their pre-teenage twin daughters are seeking some privacy, and their younger daughter space to be creative. “We also struggle with the limited storage and use our shed to store most things,” says Nadya.

They are also frustrated by the bathroom opening off the kitchen, not having a separate laundry, and the condensation caused by inadequate ventilation. They are also concerned about cracks in the walls caused by soil movement. On the plus side, they love spending time in their generous backyard with its vegie gardens and fruit trees, and regularly use the undercover patio for barbeques. They would like to retain as much of the green space as possible, though would consider converting their front yard into a food growing area if needed.


architects_ideaKingsville is an interesting and well-located suburb, and Nadya and Robert are fortunate to have a house in the area, but it is not meeting the needs of their family as it is. A sensitive, passive solar extension makes good sense to keep up with their living needs.

I can attest to the problematic soil qulaity of the inner west, as a resident of nearby Williamstown and through my work in the area. Clearly, the design of the extension needs to take this into account. There have been many new extensions in the area which have shifted separately to the existing house, causing cracks and damage between the two.

Double-storey extensions have benefits such as thermal stacking, and reducing the footprint, allowing more use of outdoor space. However, the heritage overlay often means you can’t put the second storey in the existing roofline, and going double-storey on a small lot involves the expense of additional structural steelwork. It also risks overshadowing the neighbours.

I’ve suggested a single-storey solution, which has the added long-term benefit of being accessible into later life. Losing valuable green space through an extension can be a problem, but progressive councils such as Kingsville’s Maribyrnong Council do support growing vegetables in the front nature strip setback.

Glow Design Group specialises in designing energy-efficient homes that are functional and beautiful.

Would you like your house plans Design Workshopped? Send us an email at with the subject line ‘Design Workshop’and a brief summary and plans of your project.

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Would you like your house plans Design Workshopped? Send us an email with a brief summary and plans of your project.

Cover of Issue 32
You can read more about Design workshop: Space to play in Issue 32 of Sanctuary magazine.

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Kingsville, VIC


House 90 sqm

Land 277 sqm


180 sqm


$200,000 – $300,000