Taking advantage of the space you already have outdoors is the best (and cheapest) way to make your home feel larger, without the need for a large extension. At Falconer Street Residence, Sonelo connect the home to the backyard and, in the process, make this home feel larger, lighter and brighter...
Working from home with some staff members, the owner wanted a home office which felt more like a part of the garden and an updated kitchen and dining area which also had easy access to the outdoors. The difficulty was achieving both on the Victorian-era terrace's typically long, narrow site in Melbourne's North Fitzroy.
The architect managed to give both the home and the office a connection to the backyard, without extending the footprint of the home. While the office space is not huge, a frameless corner window helps it feel much larger, bringing the outdoors in and giving the illusion of being a part of the garden.
The kitchen and dining space is rearranged to a more efficient L-shaped layout with storage and white goods along one wall and the bench and workspaces along the other. This leaves space for a generous dining area in the middle of the room. Steel-framed bi-fold doors allow the home to open fully onto the rear verandah and garden. Even with the doors closed, the thinness of the steel windows helps the home bleed into the landscape.
The kitchen cabinets, in a warm olive green, are combined with dark timber to bring the colours and textures of the garden inside. A unique, angled panel at the end of the kitchen bench deals with an awkward corner while also providing additional bench space and the illusion of space. Fine lines and understated details help to enhance and highlight the features of the existing home, while new elements are clean and crisp.
Stepping onto the verandah feels like entering an outdoor roof. With timber battens shading under a translucent roof, the verandah is protected from the weather but bathed in dappled light. It's a beautiful transition between inside and out; not quite indoors, not quite out, but the best of both. A salvaged bluestone window sill is used as a step down into the garden, helping to continue the story of this home's past.
"Seasons are invited into the house, the workplace of the owner and her staff, telling the transient of time as well as the temper of Melbourne weather." - Sonelo
With minimal intervention, this home has connected with the garden and the outdoors, creating a more pleasant working and living space for the owner. By using the outdoors as a design feature, the architect was able to make this home feel larger and lighter without adding any extra floor area. Sometimes it's those sensitive, gentle touches which have the most impact.