In Melbourne's inner-city Westgarth area, this grand old home is the definition of good bones with it's lofty ceilings, multiple bay windows and impressively wide proportions. Despite this, a previous renovation had created a kitchen and laundry that felt pokey, dysfunctional and was falling apart faster than the original home! And like many older homes - especially those with high ceilings, old windows and gappy floorboards - it was proving costly and inefficient to run.
Brave New Eco was engaged to design an interior renovation that would provide a better quality kitchen, family bathroom and laundry; feature generous storage throughout; and make energy efficient retrofit changes. Most importantly, the result needed to sit with the original features and be of the quality that a beautiful family home like this deserves.
The kitchen cabinets were created with a mix of EO (zero emission) - rated laminate, hoop pine plywood and recycled Australian hardwoods. All of the timbers and plywoods were oiled using natural oils and tints. Custom fabricated slim-line brass handles were created for all of the cabinets.
New locally-made brass and ceramic pendant lighting and high efficiency LED lighting were installed throughout. The entire interior was painted in low VOC paints and all timber finishes are recycled and oiled in naturally based oils. A graphic colour palette was used to create cohesion between the original and newer parts of the home and to provide a good base for the family's colourful collection of artwork and curiosities.
We maximised the available space for the kitchen and laundry by reconfiguring the rooms. We removed a dividing wall separating the rooms and replaced it with a space saving double-sided cabinetry unit, then flipped the kitchen and laundry to give the kitchen direct outdoor access and installed a new glass door to allow more light in. The kitchen was opened up to the dining room, allowing better connection between the two spaces and a sightline from the dining to the garden.
Into the dining room went a new cosy window seat, with record storage underneath. Heavy backed 100% linen curtains throughout help keep the heat inside the house as the weather grows colder. Wall and ceiling insulation were added and efficient space heating was installed in the open-plan living area.
To reduce the waste involved in upgrading the kitchen, the old kitchen cabinets were re-purposed in another client's laundry fit-out. Appliances were re-used, and pull-out metal pantry shelves were re-used in the new cabinetry.
The kitchen is divided into two zones: the cooking and washing (wet/hot work) zone and the snacking/ drinking/ socialising zone where family members can make drinks and snacks without disturbing the person at the stove of sink.
The long thin bathroom was reconfigured to create more circulation space and better functionality. A new shelf was added along the entire length of the bathroom to place useful things in easy reach. Handmade lighting, recycled timbers and vintage mirrors were chosen for their enduring details.
And finally a few words about the project from our client, Rebecca Burdon:
"We wanted to transform our crafty old house into a much more comfortable and workable home. It is a Victorian house that had been renovated about 15 years ago by a builder/developer. The house had not been insulated and many shortcuts had been taken in the original renovation. Brave New Eco provided sustainable, practical, well designed solutions. (They have) excellent problem solving skills; great knowledge about options, suppliers and quality of different products; great relationships with tradesmen and great attention to detail and advice regarding finishes.
We're enjoying all aspects of our home more. It is far more comfortable to live in. Everything looks and works better. It's a pleasure just to be at home now."