HOUSE DESIGN | A Federation-style home is given a contemporary renovation for a young family in Fitzroy north

BEAUTY CONCEALED: A humble Fitzroy north weatherboard cottage facade conceals the modern minimalist re-design behind the original home. It was important to expand the usable entertaining space for the client with a large patio and pergola extending from the living area. Blackbutt timber features joinery throughout the home, including the bathroom and kitchen cabinetry and wardrobe doors. The black feature fireplace blends with the black steel framed doors, furnishings, main bathroom fixtures and trims throughout the home. What was once a hardly usable rear yard has been transformed into a low-maintenance user-friendly space. With the cooktop in the kitchen island and a seating area included, the island becomes a focal point of the kitchen. Photos: Marnie Hawson
BEAUTY CONCEALED: A humble Fitzroy north weatherboard cottage facade conceals the modern minimalist re-design behind the original home. It was important to expand the usable entertaining space for the client with a large patio and pergola extending from the living area. Blackbutt timber features joinery throughout the home, including the bathroom and kitchen cabinetry and wardrobe doors. The black feature fireplace blends with the black steel framed doors, furnishings, main bathroom fixtures and trims throughout the home. What was once a hardly usable rear yard has been transformed into a low-maintenance user-friendly space. With the cooktop in the kitchen island and a seating area included, the island becomes a focal point of the kitchen. Photos: Marnie Hawson

The brief was to rectify and reimagine an old weatherboard cottage for a new young family.

Architects Buck & Simple: doers of stuff, set out to respect the original cottage and replace the poorly constructed previous add-ons.

They focused on the interiors, and ensured a connection to the landscaping so it would have the greatest impact on lifestyle for the clients.

The high ceilings and timber construction gently creaked as you walked the hallway of the existing home.

There was an obvious change in quality from the light and airy original space to the latter cluttered renovations at the rear.

"Our role in transforming this home was to reimagine the family areas and celebrate the connection between the house and the rear yard," says principal and co-founder Kurt Crisp.

"Internally, we wanted to bring back a sense of calm, order and hierarchy within the home."

There was a need to create spaces that were delineated by their function and which allow for the practicalities of a busy family.

It was important to create a spacious, well-appointed home for the owners, who love to cook and entertain.

The existing layout meant you couldn't do both at the same time.

"So, we re-established the kitchen as the heart of the home," Kurt says.

"Locating the cooktop on the island created the opportunity to connect with guests, prepare meals and socialise."

The new living areas introduced a feature fireplace, black steel doors that stop the warm air escaping and a circular skylight to bring in much needed natural light.

The back wall to the rear garden was replaced with a set of new sliding glass doors and the garden was completely re-landscaped with the help of Inge Jabara Landscapes.

Combining a few standout textured materials with base neutrals throughout the interiors ensured a warm, soft palette.

"It was important to the owners that we accommodate their active lifestyle."

Resilient surfaces and materials were integrated throughout to ensure comfort was not compromised.

A terrazzo tile floor throughout the living areas not only grounded the palette but added thermal mass and insulation.

"To soften the noise and create warmth in the quieter areas such as bedrooms, we used a blonde timber engineered floorboard in a herringbone pattern," Kurt says.

"We wanted to use a consistent textured timber aesthetic and chose to integrate blackbutt veneer joinery to match the owners bespoke master bed that they loved."

Fixtures were either brass or black-finished to matched detailing on the steel doors and lighting. This helped to maintain the consistent tonal palette.

What made this project so successful was a good relationship between the architectural team and the client.

It was design-focused and based on trust in the brief and the outcome.

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  • Produced with BowerBird
  • Buck & Simple
  • Momentum Building Group