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A Melbourne Renovation: 1920's Californian Bungalow

On Oct 20 2014
Tagged as:
  • myLJHooker Home
  • Home Ideas

After contemplating a move and deciding to stay put, this couple reinvented their Californian Bungalow into a home perfect for the years to come. The result is a combination of new and old elements which provides an interesting and dynamic chapter in the history of this home and its neighbourhood.

A Melbourne Renovation: 1920's Californian Bungalow

When you find a suburb you love renovating may be the best option

When you find a Suburb You Love

Affection for a local community or suburb is one of the many reasons why homeowners decide to renovate, even though selling and moving may eventually cross their minds. When you’ve found a suburb where you feel truly at ease, settling down and spreading your roots is often the best choice.



This was the case for a Melbourne-based couple whose 1920s California bungalow was in the perfect spot to live out the rest of their days, though in dire need of rejuvenation. To bring their ageing home up to a standard in which they can enjoy the time spent at home, they enlisted the expertise of Architect Hewson, a firm based in Collingwood, Victoria.



With the intent to stay put until retirement, the homeowners decided they needed a space to cater to their needs for general living and entertaining, while in keeping with the historic appeal of the streetscape. With this direction in mind, an addition was designed that complemented the existing structure but also took a shape of its own, providing context between old and new.


Letting in the Light

Key to the new addition was the ability for it to address the absence of natural light so typical of earlier 20th century buildings. The California bungalow section of the project would serve as an enclosure for smaller intimate spaces, which would feel appropriate given the ceiling height, while the newer section would receive high ceilings and more open-plan rooms, as well as abundant light. Careful design was needed to ensure that a connection and context remained between the differing volumes of the new and original sections.



Changes to the front allowed for expansion of the kitchen, since the dining space was moved to the new addition. The front living room was also moved to the rear of the property to form a new open-plan living and dining area. The front room, which was originally the living room, has been turned into a comfortable guest bedroom. The guest bathroom was redesigned to allow for a laundry and storage area that was separate from the WC, while the new and extensive bathroom was designed to provide modern amenities and an aesthetically pleasing space.



Connecting the Home

To connect both sections of the home, new timber flooring was laid throughout, providing a continuous visual and material connection that flows throughout the spaces. The new living and dining areas open out onto a rear deck, providing ample room for enjoying the outdoors during the warmer months, while a large, luxurious open fireplace dominates the living room and provides a focal gathering point for enjoying the space during the colder months.



Externally, the new addition is a contrast to the refurbished bungalow. Its stark black cladding and strong geometric presence establish a clear and concise visual distinction between the old and new. The large northfacing windows ensure plenty of light enters the home during the day and provide privacy from the neighbours to the east and west of the site. Clerestory windows also provide ample passive ventilation.

With a plan for passive environmental control, the home has been designed to keep cool in summer and warm in winter through insulation. The choice to keep the west-facing boundary of the home free of windows allowed the designers to regulate the home’s internal temperatures without having to add active cooling and heating. Additionally, photovoltaic solar panels were added to the new construction. These have the impact of creating a home with minimal need for the power grid while also earning the residence a bonus income from the unused electricity that is fed back into the grid.



With this project, the aim to provide the couple with a home that they can be comfortable in for the foreseeable future, which provides all the basic comforts has been thoroughly realised — and the owners couldn’t be happier.


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