This family faced the same conundrum many experience: the home they love is starting to feel cramped trying to house their growing family, but they love the area. Do you renovate or sell?
The original two-bedroom home in Sydney's Newtown was in a great spot, close to public transport, shops, cafes and parks, but it was simply too small for their growing family. The previous owner, a builder, had renovated the home, turning the second bedroom into an oversized bathroom and tucking the main bedroom into the attic space accessed by a steep and narrow stair. The success of the appropriately named Puzzle Box would hinge on Amrish Maharaj Architect's ability to solve a complex 3D puzzle: fitting a first-floor addition above the existing living areas without destroying a recently renovated kitchen, connecting the new addition to the existing attic bedroom without replacing the original roof form to retain its heritage value. It would be a test of slotting spaces in, around and above the existing spaces with minimal disruption.
The solution takes advantage of the generous side setback by slotting in a 3 square-metre addition to the ground floor. This created the space for a stair in the dining room which does a 180-degree turn to sail over the existing bathroom, cleverly utilizing some of the once oversized bathroom's space to the home's advantage. There's even a fun, secret library and reading nook hidden under the stairs, taking advantage of all available space. The existing attic bedroom now has a more comfortable stair and a two-bedroom, one-bathroom addition is added above the living areas.
The new bedrooms and bathroom are oriented towards the north-east to capture natural light and distant tree views. Skylights along the hall bring light in and funnel light down the stairwell to maximise the natural light in the centre of the home.
The main bedroom has been relocated to the rear of the home and enjoys easy access to the bathroom. A private balcony is the perfect place to unwind once the kids are asleep and overlooks the yard and the surrounding trees while also providing a buffer of privacy from the neighbouring houses.
So, Amrish Maharaj Architect did it; they solved the puzzle, successfully slotting in new spaces perfect for a growing family!