A Gloriously Verdant Inner-City Extension

The Garden House by BKK Architects was designed to give two self-declared introverts a space to retreat alone with their collection of books, surrounded by nature.

Charged with the task of upgrading an existing Edwardian cottage and adding a modern extension, BKK set out to replace the ramshackle ’90s add-on with a Japanese inspired addition, alongside a luscious sprawling garden designed by Mud Office. In the process, the original cottage rooms were upgraded with insulation and double-glazing to ensure higher thermal performance consistent with the rest of the new build.

‘We began to see the house as two parts,’ explains principal architect, Simon Knott. ‘The original house was softer and more decorative, with the period detailing of fireplaces and plaster cornices accentuated.’ He adds that the contemporary addition is more raw and elemental, devised to be constantly engaging with the wild landscaped garden through its timber palette and extensive glazing.

Having performed minor structural tweaks to the original dwelling, the architects retained the double fronted heritage structure, and split the rear half of the long rectangular site lengthwise to integrate a substantial garden alongside the new build. The resulting north facing addition hugs the southern boundary in order to face this green area, allowing the wall-to-wall French doors and tilt-up windows to open the kitchen and communal living areas to the garden.

Masterful custom joinery stretches the length of the extension, simultaneously incorporating a kitchen pantry, walk-in robe, and shelving in one long wall of timber. A dreamy, custom-built window seat is the pièce de résistance of this bespoke timber craftsmanship! The impressive detailing is consistent with the rest of the timber-heavy material palette, and gestures to the charred timber exterior and exposed hardwood beams which support the pitched ceilings.

Tucked behind the living room’s central curved brick wall, the stand-out feature of this home is at the very rear of the residence: the master bathroom! The deep bath and open shower overlook the fringes of dense garden via a large tilt-up window, and take advantage of shade cast by the mini bamboo forest just beyond its frame.

Though the Garden House by BKK is a mosaic of architectural influences from Robyn Boyd’s iconic Walsh Street house, to the mid-century prototype Schaffer House in California, the house stands as an achievement of architectural ingenuity in its own right.

Discover more projects by BKK Architects here.


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