Folk Architects welcome us inside Storybook House; a dynamic alteration and addition onto a single-fronted Victorian terrace in Melbourne’s inner-north.
Creating a highly-functional home within a small, heritage footprint was no simple undertaking for local studio Folk Architects. But through a series of clever multi-use spaces, custom elements and sustainable solutions, Folk Architects were able to optimise every inch of the aptly-named Storybook House. Meeting each unique demand, the Storybook House is a blueprint for how design constraints can make for quietly boundary-pushing home.
Folk Architects were approached by a young couple, with a brief that wasn’t exactly run-of-the-mill. While it spanned many of the spatial requirements typical of Victorian terraces such as open plan living areas and more natural light, it also drew attention to how the couple wished to live. Specific client requests included singing at all hours without anyone being able to listen and a home that reflected their eco-conscious values. Folk Architects responded to these requests through flexible spaces, hidden nooks and a sustainable approach that focused on healthy building materials.
Storybook House takes its name from the Storybook architectural style that emerged in Los Angeles in the 1920s. Folk Architects took interest in Storybook-style houses, for the way they transcend conventions to create a blend of art and architecture, both highly pragmatic yet playful. As a studio, Folk Architects also have an ongoing focus on small footprint living, adopting design principles from Japanese homes where no single plane or surface is underutilised for the Storybook House.
Functional planning does not sacrifice the feeling of spaciousness in Storybook House. The design team achieved achieved fluid and open interiors by maximising ceiling height, natural light, views to nature and active circulation spaces that conceal laundry, kitchen and storage.
Sustainability took precedence through considered access to natural light and airflow, removing the need for air-conditioning through shade management and passive ventilation. All openings in the home frame a series of outdoor areas; be it the internal courtyards, a roof garden or the adjacent park.
For the exterior, Folk Architects prioritised glazed terracotta tiles in cream and white, to reduce heat sink and heat transfer internally, while solar panels absorb the rays. In the garden, Folk Architects introduced a large water tank to capture water from the roof.
Folk Architects selected materials neutral in tone and texture. Timber joinery carries through the entire home, from the entire side of the living space, through to the kitchen and bedroom.
In the kitchen, a custom dining table adjoins the stone kitchen island. Other bespoke elements include the brick custom seating in the living space and the brick plinth for the freestanding fireplace. This creates a direct dialogue with the outdoor space, with its brick outdoor seating and entertaining zone.
Folk Architects chose polished concrete for the highly-trafficked, indoor-outdoor living space and Fibonnaci Stone tiles in the bathroom with brass Astra Walker taps. To further inject personality, the home is dotted with colourful art and foliage – creating a sense of calm.
Storybook House is a refreshing example of modern architecture that’s incredibly considerate of its context. Satisfying the client’s vision, sustainability and style, Folk Architects have packed a punch in a petite family home.