Nestling into its urban village setting in Melbourne’s inner west, Little Maggie creatively extends an existing heritage weatherboard cottage. With the challenge of adapting the site for year-round use, the design has crafted a carefully proportioned light filled garden room which connects to its sunny ‘pocket courtyard’ style garden.
The existing house was a two bedroom, single fronted weatherboard cottage located close to the Yarraville village centre in Melbourne’s inner West. The overall setting includes a charming assortment of heritage listed weatherboard houses – most of them single storey.
The clients brief was simply for a light filled home which made them feel like they were sitting in the garden. Beyond this, they wanted to retain two bedrooms and provide a separate library space to accommodate their extensive book collection which was separate from the main living spaces.
Our approach to the brief was to design a new rear facing garden room which connected back to the original house via a carefully detailed glazed link. The link offers a moment of transition between old and new, allowing an opportunity to look up at the timber clad ‘Top Hat’ which forms the façade of the extension. The façade is composed of shorter lengths of Australian native timber, creating a tile like effect which responds to the scale of the extension.
The extension itself opens up via bi-fold timber doors to a north facing bluestone terrace / BBQ space. A white painted brick seat provides an opportunity to sit either on the inside to the dining space or outside to the terrace. The use of bluestone is a reference to the bluestone cobble laneways which are prevalent in Yarraville and indeed across Melbourne.
To the rear, the centrally located double fireplace responds to the client’s request to maximise interactivity with the garden and to provide as many opportunities as possible for year-round use. Set atop the chimney is a terracotta chimneypot – a cheeky nod to the surrounding worker’s cottages in the heritage area. Framing the centrally located chimney are two large pivot doors which maximise the connectivity to the back yard.
The interior palette consists of contrasting textures of pale timber floors, painted white brick, grey marble and painted vertical groove lining boards. To the north, a simple high-level window allows sunlight in which tracks across the various textures over the course of the day.
Through careful use of proportion, light and texture, Little Maggie demonstrates how a small extension can make a big impact whilst sitting comfortably in it’s urban village like setting.