Breeze house is an extension to a double-fronted Edwardian that complements its owners' easy-going natures while engaging with the elements to create a naturally comfortable home.
The owners are a couple who love relaxing and entertaining at their house. They wanted natural light and ventilation and to feel the energy and comfort that comes from being connected with the elements. The first item on their brief was “the ability to open up the back of the house to the back yard- including a deck for outdoor living / dining space.”
They didn’t necessarily want a big kitchen, didn’t even want an island bench. (They commented how hard it was to find a photo of a kitchen without an island bench on Pinterest!) Their vision, however was for a large dining table for up to 12 people that could be used for communal food preparation and sharing meals and good times. In our initial meeting, an inspiration that Dave referred to was the idea of a ‘country kitchen.’ He went on to explain this was his way of describing a kitchen without an island bench, but instead with a large table around which people gather to prepare food. We loved this idea -Family and Friends coming together, sitting and enjoying each other’s company while sharing the love in the process of preparing as well as eating food.
Their property faces east at the back which provides great opportunity for morning sun. We used bi-fold doors and bi-fold windows to open the entire width of the rear façade up to the deck and back yard. Here an angled pergola provides an intimate spot for gathering on a built-in seat in the shade. The bi-folds open this space to the L-shaped built in seat inside the living room. A perfect corner to nestle with a view of the garden under the cosy lowered ceiling with warm north light pouring in the side window.
The ceiling in the kitchen/meals area by contrast, steps up to 4m creating a light, bright, airy space for people to gather and enjoy each other’s company. The high ceiling reveals a highlight window on the north side bringing in more warming winter sun. On the south side, electrically operated louvres catch the prevailing cool summer breezes over neighbouring properties from where they are directed down via the ceiling fan. With more louvres on the north highlight and adjacent to the built-in seat, and the fully openable rear façade, the house has a cool breezy air. There is no air conditioning.
In the spirit of recycling many elements from the existing house were retained and re-used. The hot water, dishwasher, washing machine and dryer, some pendant lights and mirrors were retained for re-use. Red brick paving was retained and re-used. Even the claw foot bath was salvaged, retained and re-used and is a beautiful element representing the history of the old in the new bathroom.
The approach to the front of the house was one of minimal intervention. It wasn’t heritage so could have been demolished but its embodied energy feels too valuable to send to land fill. The strategy for the front of the house was to do as little work as possible because the rooms had great proportions to perform many functions and were in reasonable condition. The front rooms were re-appropriated as a main bedroom and a flexible guest bedroom / creative studio. The third room is a lounge that connects with the main living room. Weatherboards were removed and replaced where required which provided opportunity for upgrading insulation.