Joe Kovacs Architect
Murrumbeena House: A new look homestead style
             A Staged Project

One of my earliest projects was rebuilding my own home. The prospect of renovating our four roomed, rundown 1920s weatherboard cottage was daunting to say the least. However, demolishing and building new was not a financial option for us at the time. So we embarked on a staged process of renovations and additions that extended over a decade. Out of financial necessity and a philosophical disposition we used a significant quantity of recycled building materials, which included transforming timber lathing from the existing walls into parquetry flooring.

  • A large single living/dining room with street and private north facing yard views.
  • Children’s play room
  • Four bedrooms at two levels
  • Two bathrooms
  • Attic home office
  • Lock up garage and carport.
Compositional intentions

The proportions of our land and the position of the existing house on it, dictated that we extend sideways. Our intention however was to preserve the small “workers’ cottage” identity of the home, which is the last remaining example of that type in the area.

Through a strategy of contrasting the new with the old, our two extensions are an arrangement of idiosyncratic shapes discretely connected to the existing house. The tension between the modest cottage and the vibrant new is brought into balance through scaling of mass, articulation of form and surface finishes. Internally the house performs as a unity of activated parts, functioning to enrich the living experience of adults, children and visitors.
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