Extension and renovation — a St Kilda West beauty

With a full family to accommodate, our client had purchased a single-storey Victorian town house in St Kilda West. The house was in very poor condition and subject to a strong Heritage overlay by the local council.

The house had a long, very narrow courtyard running down one side, opposite a neighbouring house’s high brick wall. This made the entire old house very dark inside.

The property needed to be thoroughly updated and extended to create adequate and suitable spaces for a growing family.


The brief

  • Four bedrooms
  • Master bedroom to afford seclusion
  • Two bathrooms plus guest powder room
  • Generous, open living spaces
  • Large modern kitchen
  • Ample natural light
  • Updated style yet sympathetic to heritage

The result

Due to the Heritage overlay, the front facade is retained and the front two rooms opened up into a single, large space. The remainder of the house to the rear is demolished and a new sympathetic two-storey wing created. With a site slope downwards to the rear, a split-level configuration creates a private downstairs master bedroom retreat for the parents, a large open kitchen-dining-lounge ground-level area to the rear, and three generous bedrooms on the first floor for the children, with views out to the west. The site slope allows the new wing to be concealed within the existing fabric and poses no visual intrusion to the street-scape.

A generous new courtyard in the centre of the home floods both the newly-opened front rooms, as well as to the master bedroom behind. The new wing is built along the boundary adjacent to the neighbour’s high brick wall.

The ample new family (dining/lounge) space on the ground floor at the rear faces a landscaped courtyard through huge glass-panelled doors. with a timber deck extending the “house” space outside. High ceilings with clerestory windows maximises the influx of warm daylight.

In the front yard, an artfully-disguised timber compound surrounded by a small native garden furnishes subtle housing for refuse storage and collection.