Ha Architecture update a 19th Century Edwardian home in Melbourne, with a functional and considered approach to design and space.
Ha Architecture principal architect Nick Harding understands the challenges of small space living. He knows what to conceal and what to reveal to achieve a space-efficient floor plan – creating a functional and sustainable home that’s warm and relaxed.
Produced in partnership with Fisher & Paykel
Testament to its 19th-century beginnings, Bianco House, evolved from a single-storey, weatherboard home, modest in size yet abundant in character. The Edwardian, with its trademark ornate ceilings and delicate fretwork, had previously undergone a partial update. The front rooms were modernised with a Nordic touch; lime-washed baltic pine underfoot and interiors adorned with a white-on-white palette.
The client brief was to create a double-storey renovation to the rear, including a new kitchen and dining area, plus an ensuite bedroom with a walk-in robe above – not a straightforward endeavour considering the block is only seven metres wide. This, combined with irregularities of neighbouring properties, plus a northwest rear orientation, requiring a balance of sun and shade, provided a meticulous task for the chosen designer.
Ha Architecture responded with their signature approach: redefining the ‘constraints’ as opportunities to create unique architectural moments. “With small footprint living, being selective with space is fundamental, ” Ha Architecture principal Nick Harding says. “The key is to tip spacial generously where it is needed most, such as the primary habitable areas; kitchen and dining, while consolidating secondary spaces; bedrooms and bathrooms.” As a result, Ha Architecture redefined the partially renovated Edwardian into one harmonious home by incorporating secret doors, cabinetry integration, and clever geometry.
“Providing everything is ergonomically resolved, you can unlock amazing architectural opportunities within small spaces.”
– Nick Harding
In line with the owner’s brief, Ha Architecture continued the clean, Scandinavian aesthetic from the front of the home throughout the new addition, playing with textural whites and timber to add earthen warmth. A geometric entrance with a 30-degree roof line marries the existing home to the new addition, providing contrast and intrigue.
Ha Architecture specified Fisher & Paykel appliances for their energy efficiency and integration in the kitchen. The design team cleverly tucked necessities, including a pantry and an integrated refrigerator, away inside the staircase void. At the same time, the Double Dishdrawer™ dishwasher is neatly integrated behind the rear under-counter cabinetry and the rangehood disguised through above-counter shelving.
Interesting to note in the stairway is a towering double-storey void with skylight, allowing a previously confined space to feel generous and elevated. An external prototype louvre system over the skylight also provides evolving ‘shadow play’ throughout the day. “We were fastidious with all external glass windows to either protect or provide external sunshine,” Nick says. “The skylight, in particular, was designed precisely for sun paths, inviting maximum winter light and warmth when you want it while providing shade in summer when it’s too warm,” he adds.
The 21st Century redesign of Bianco House by Ha Architecture showcases how big dreams can be achieved within small spaces. It’s the realisation of a new family home that is both practical in its function, yet inviting and aesthetically pleasing.
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