Typically double storey homes are designed with the living areas on the ground floor and bedrooms upstairs. This layout often works well, with living areas having a good connection to the outdoors and the bedrooms feeling a bit more private and secure upstairs. Sometimes, however, it's worthwhile flipping tradition on its head and putting the living areas upstairs where they have better access to light and breezes. That was the decision Madeleine Blanchfield Architects made when doing an internal renovation to this 1920s home in Sydney's Bronte...
The reconfiguration moves bedrooms downstairs where they can open up to beautiful garden views, while a more open-plan space upstairs takes advantage of light and views of the treetops. An entire guest wing provides a private retreat for guests, while the master bedroom has a sitting area overlooking the garden.
Upstairs a new timber kitchen is the centrepiece of the open-plan living area, designed like an oversized island bench. A cooktop, sink, under-bench storage and preparation space is all contained within the island which takes up the whole width of the living space. The fridge and pantry space is concealed in custom joinery in a wall niche.
The architects have incorporated custom joinery throughout the home to maximise space and ensure the home is efficient with lots of storage space for the young family.
V-grooved sheets were used on the walls. Painted white the vertical grooves provide a richness of texture that is lacking in so many modern spaces. Combined with lime-washed timber floors and "casual but organic and shapely furniture", the home has a relaxed beachy feel appropriate to this beach-side suburb.
With some creative rethinking this home has been transformed into a more practical, light-filled family home. Don't be afraid to think outside the box when approaching a home renovation. A good architect may be able to help you develop creative solutions to your problems. In this case, literally turning convention on its head has left this home and its family with a much sunnier outlook on life.