One of the downsides of downsizing is having to leave the neighbourhood you love. Having lived in the area for 45 years, this downsizer was reluctant to leave. Instead, she built the perfect home in her backyard!
After scouring the surrounding area Renata wasn't able to find anything to suit her needs, so she invited Atlas Architects to investigate building a new home in the backyard. Luckily for Renata, her five-bedroom home in Bentleigh in south-east Melbourne was on a corner block and there was enough room in the backyard to build her downsized three-bedder. That meant Renata was able to retain her original home. Apart from being wasteful, the home also has sentimental value as she built it and had lived in it for 30 years. Renata "felt that it would be wasteful to demolish a perfectly good home", the architect explains.
The design has Renata's long-term needs in mind, with a bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor perfect for aging-in-place. This leaves the upper floor for friends and family when they visit, while Renata has everything she needs on the ground floor.
The living area has sliding doors which open onto a decked area, encouraging outdoor living. The expanses of glass also help to give the illusion of space on the narrow site.
Rich recycled bricks are combined with ship-lapped timber and vertically-grooved linings give the home a rich texture. Painted black, the upper level feels like the silhouette of a typical suburban home. Large openings are punched into the upper level creating deep eaves and window sills to shade the windows. The windows overlook the street and wrap around the corner to take in city views, again helping to make the home feel larger than it really is.
There's plenty of space to entertain friends and family without unnecessary spaces to keep clean and maintain. The material choices are also low-maintenance to ensure Renata can spend time enjoying her new home rather than maintaining it. Renata "loves the amount of storage that she has in the new home", explains the architect. "There is more storage in the new home than her existing five-bedroom home. It is well concealed and hidden."
If you've got the space, it's a great strategy to build your downsized home in the neighbourhood you love. That way there's no need to move away from friends and family and you can build the home that perfectly suits your need. Renata's got the right idea and she was able to pull it off with the help of Atlas Architects!