Complete transformation of a 1970s double brick family home overlooking Ruffey Lake Park in Doncaster

Architects: Inbetween Architecture
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Year: 2016
Area: 5.220 ft²/ 485 m²
Photo courtesy: Tatjana Plitt

“To make the most of its privileged position, overlooking Ruffey Lake Park in Doncaster, this 1970s double brick family home has undergone a complete transformation.

To take better advantage of its stunning outlook and north-facing frontage, the previously dark and compartmentalised interior has been reconfigured and the upper level rebuilt and extended to deliver abundant natural light, highlight stunning views, and provide a seamless connection between kitchen, dining and living spaces; essential to modern family life. Quieter private spaces, such as the library, music room and TV den nestle snugly into the sheltered west side of the ground floor. A timber-clad pod divides the east and west sides of the floor plate and conceals the cloak room, bathroom and pantry. The new first floor comprises generous bedroom suites, additional bathroom and a large north facing terrace, conveniently accessed from both the landing and master suite.

Clever reworking of existing stepped floor levels and the strategic placement of voids and skylights creates a variety of spatial volumes and brings natural light to core of the home. The central timber stair is lined to one side with custom-shelving to display the occupants’ collections, and the other is open to the double height void – now bathed in sky-lit softness.

The brown brick of the existing house — typical of its era — is retained to the ground and basement levels and complemented by new charcoal cladding and trims. The existing fabric is celebrated and updated by the clean lines of the new parapets and window details. The insertion of hit-and-miss brickwork blurs the distinction between interior and exterior spaces and provides a surprise lightness to the otherwise solid forms.”