A Surprising Extension To A Family Home — On A Small Block!

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The owners of this Northcote property grappled with the age-old dilemma of whether to knock-down and rebuild or extend their compact, but cute, family home.

The original, single-level Edwardian cottage had fallen into disrepair when the owners decided to engage the help of Melbourne-based firm, C.Kairouz Architects. Director and principal architect Chahid Kairouz says the family’s main requests revolved around reconfiguring the ‘old, dark labyrinth of a layout’ and converting the two-bedroom cottage into a three-bed home with modern amenities.

On a challenging block of just 177sq m, Chahid knew the small foot-print was also filled with ‘opportunities to get creative’.

‘Our aim was to find a balance between how much to keep and how much to demolish to maximise space and improve liveability with an open, free-flowing floor plan that made sense when combined with the existing structure,’ he explains.

Retaining neighbourhood character and the original Edwardian charm was another key factor in the project. The renovation saw the property retain its front facade and humble origins, with a ‘modern surprise’ at the rear. Rearranging and extending the home secured the addition of third bedroom, while also creating new entertainment areas with double-height ceilings. To make up for the reduced yard, the savvy design includes a second level with a multi-purpose room and outdoor terrace above.

But a true highlight of the refreshed home is its surprising, netted canopy, suspended above the living, kitchen and dining room! The hammock-style zone and spiral staircase also connects the light and bright downstairs to the mezzanine level.

C.Kairouz Architects head of interiors Sammy Kairouz says this clever use of space created something new for the owners to enjoy, taking over what could’ve been a fixed and bulky balustrade.

‘This element supplied a cost-effective enhancement that increased the feeling of volume, joyful interactivity and function, where one can store things, dwell, and lounge in the dead space,’ he adds. Chahid also notes that what the property lacks in space, it now makes up for in personality!

‘Our goal was to create a considered proposal that promotes the idea that you can still live big in a compact home reimagining the Australian suburban family house, the way it functions and its architectural language.’

See more projects from C.Kairouz Architects here.

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