Modern Addition to an Old Edwardian House by Mcmahon and Nerlich

Modern Addition to an Old Edwardian House by Mcmahon and Nerlich

Architects: Mcmahon and Nerlich
Project: Jigsaw House / Modern Addition
Location: St Kilda West, Melbourne, Australia
Photography: Dianna Snape

The existing residence is a single fronted, single storey, painted brick Edwardian house with stucco, located on York Street, St Kilda West. At 180m2, It is very small site for its context, and has an extension at the back. York St cuts across northeast oriented blocks between Cowderoy St and Deakin St, where both single and double storey residences currently exist.

Modern Addition to an Old Edwardian House by Mcmahon and Nerlich 1

The context exhibits a pleasant tree-lined atmosphere with multiple single and double fronted Edwardian houses on the subject site side of the street, with a variety of other residential building types opposite, including multi-residential premises of various styles and ages. Located in a heritage context, with a heritage overlay and with sensitive planning constraints on neighbouring properties, the design had to resolve the competing imperatives of maximising the floor area to accommodate a growing family, against the restraints of the Port Phillip heritage policy and building setback diagram. The proposed alterations and additions to the property are designed to respect the intact Edwardian streetscape and the neighbourhood character in general. The proposed contemporary addition at the rear of the property is set well back from the street, and has been designed to sit within a 10 degree setback from the top of the existing roof ridge, and scarcely visible when viewed from the street.

Modern Addition to an Old Edwardian House by Mcmahon and Nerlich 3

The proposed modern addition is designed through a contextual approach that aims to make the most of natural light and create optimal interior comfort through carefully considered organization, while remaining recessive from the street. The proposal is responsive to and attempts to minimize impact on its neighbours. The combination of the constrained site size, heritage considerations and contested neighbourly amenity generated the the driving idea for the house. Space was tight and there was none to waste. Finding the solution became like a solving a puzzle. To make generous spaces it was necessary to borrow any surplus space from the adjacent spaces. The spiral stair deflects the wall to the adjacent bedroom, the family bathroom pushes into the front bedroom.

Modern Addition to an Old Edwardian House by Mcmahon and Nerlich 4

Built form considerations were informed by the amenity considerations for neighbours and to reduce the overall height, the ground floor is lowered to natural ground level to the rear part of the site. At the top of the stair a study and terrace cut into the bedroom below crouches in under the existing roof. The main bedroom has raked walls and ceiling to maximise the usable floor area and cantilevers over the courtyard to provide a generosity that belies the tautly scaled form.

Modern Addition to an Old Edwardian House by Mcmahon and Nerlich 4

Beyond the bedroom the delightful ensuite window gives views into trees beyond (and natural ventilation) and a large clear glazed skylight adds a sense of luxury to the bathing experience. One bathes under the stars. The toilet is tucked in under the existing roofline to allow a more generous room (and twin handbasins). Another door from the bedroom leads into the walk in robe. the robe straddles the existing and new areas with constrained head height (it is partly under the existing roof) while a surprise louvre window allows views out the kitchen skylight to the roofscape beyond.

Modern Addition to an Old Edwardian House by Mcmahon and Nerlich 5

The solution to the puzzle of spaces was eventually found. Nothing is too big or too small and the resultant spaces are both finely scaled and generous. The interaction of the spaces with each other is effortless and yet subtly expressed. Sustainability was integral to the design. Every opportunity was made to bring in natural light, be it through raking skylights, borrowed-amenity skylights or the three north-facing sliding windows. All windows and doors have been double glazed and the insulation added to existing floor, roof and walls to provide a 21st century envelope.

Modern Addition to an Old Edwardian House by Mcmahon and Nerlich 6

Carpets and other materials have natural dyes and recyclable components for life-cycle carbon reduction. Paints and floor finishes are specified to be low-VOC so that the clients can move in straight away without headaches or chemical smells. A water tank has been installed under the ground and paving areas drain to rain-gardens to ameliorate stormwater impact.

Modern Addition to an Old Edwardian House by Mcmahon and Nerlich 7

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

120 Allen Street in Manhattan / Grzywinski+Pons

120 Allen Street located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and is comprised of sixteen furnished studios and four furnished apartments with a...

St Kilda House: Complete Revival of a 1850’s Cottage

St Kilda House is an old abandoned cottage that has been transformed by Melbourne-based Jost Architects into a lively and vibrant home. Description by Jost...

Formentera House by Marià Castelló Martínez

The Formentera house focuses on the duality between the telluric and the tectonic. The heavy and the light. The earth and the air. The handcrafted and the technological. Compression effort and traction resistance. 

David Street House, Austin / Murray Legge Architecture

This project began with two families purchasing a large Central Austin property and subdividing it into two narrow lots to build new homes on - we were hired to design one of the homes.

ASR House in Sicily by Giuseppe Gurrieri and Nunzio Gabriele Sciveres

ASR House is a renovation project of a house situated on the second floor of a building located in Sicily, in the old town centre of Ragusa near the Cathedral and the Bishop's Palace. A survey showed that the portion of the building to renovate had already been consolidated in the 90’s, during a restoration and consolidation of the entire property.

Modern Townhouse in Seattle with Custom Detail and High End Finishes

With an A+ location, views, quality, and green features this sleek modern townhouse is a must see. Custom detail and high end finishes throughout, the westerly city and water views are unparalleled.