"One with Nature" is an eco friendly modern extension to a Californian Bungalow in a beautiful leafy backyard in suburban Melbourne. The original house was elevated with no relationship to the outside and the sloping block was terraced with dry stone walls: this gave us the inspiration to adding a new design that both visually and functionally connects to the natural environment it was sitting in. Read more

As a result we developed a building that is terraced following the slope of the site and is directly linked to the backyard. From the original house you step up into the dining room, and then up into the lounge, from the lounge outside onto a paved area. The paving is enclosed by a seat height dry stone wall that marks the enclosure of the built area. From there you step up onto the lawn making the backyard the destination of an upwards journey through the house.

The internal zoning is clear and simple. The old house at the front belongs to the children with three bedrooms, bathroom and a play area. From the children’s wing you enter the communal living areas on the new ground floor. The dining room forms the centre of the residence and is separated from the lounge by the kitchen. On the first floor of the new building is the parents’ wing with master bedroom, dressing room, ensuite and study. From the master bedroom you can access a roof terrace that provides views over the backyard.

As in all our projects we paid attention to the sustainability aspects of building: the eco friendly project features underground rainwater harvesting, recycled timber flooring and Viridian double glazed glass. We also paid close attention to balanced lighting, utilising the effect of shadows that the sun creates. This project explores the relationship between different spacers too: the dining room downstairs and study upstairs are connected through a void, the stair to the master bedroom is ‘hidden’ behind the kitchen giving a sense of privacy for the parents’ wing, and the dining and lounge are enclosed by a curved wall which in itself creates a communal outdoor dining area.

We paid attention to details: concrete sits against a timber floor, walls slip past each other and the external timber cladding is articulated in different ways. Building form and facade were developed to evoke the qualities of a tree and become part of the tree filled backyard itself.