An Intimate Inner-City Home + Secret Garden
The owner of this pre-WWII double-fronted weatherboard home in Abbotsford was intent on retaining its humble character, except with added space and a better appreciation of the garden.
‘The opportunity was to connect the interior with the exterior, and bring the sense of a secret garden into the new home,’ explains architect Nick Harding, principal of Ha, regarding the project.
Rather than extend outwards, Ha created a new open-plan living area within the original ground floor footprint, with an additional bedroom upstairs.
Wishing to maintain the home’s single-storey frontage, this entire addition was pushed back a discreet distance from the street. Its roof line angles also mirror that of the existing cottage, creating a subtle silhouette of the original form.
A source of inspiration for the entire project was the beautiful revitalisations of old Queenslander weatherboard homes that draw the outdoors in. Borrowing this concept, Wendy House offers a diversity of views and vantage points to appreciate the surroundings and plantscaping by Pop Plant.
The material palette was also carefully considered to flow seamlessly from the indoors out.
‘Our approach to materiality primarily supports the connection between the existing weatherboard and the renovation,’ says Nick. ‘The terracotta flooring extends out from the interior to the garden, bringing warmth and richness into the palette — and a sense of borrowed space that expands the modestly sized living quarters. Simple timber windows were chosen to reflect the honest home that Wendy House is.’
The completed house now offers a variety of intimate, discrete experiences that reflect and augment the feel of the existing cottage.
Nick says, ‘The highlight of the house is the garden, where climate suitable native and exotic plants ensure some of the original untamed aesthetic is preserved alongside, a more liveable, light-filled experience.