Unlocking Architectural Moments in Small Spaces

  • Ha Architecture update a 19th Century Edwardian home in Melbourne, with a functional and considered approach to design and space.

    Ha Architecture principal architect Nick Harding understands the challenges of small space living. He knows what to conceal and what to reveal to achieve a space-efficient floor plan – creating a functional and sustainable home that’s warm and relaxed.

    Produced in partnership with Fisher & Paykel

    The kitchen features Fisher & Paykel integrated appliances, including a Double dishDrawer™ dishwasher, oven, induction cooktop, refrigerator and rangehood.

    The Double Dishdrawer™ dishwasher is seamlessly integrated under the bench with easy access to the wet area.

    View from the dining room to the outdoor window seat; perfect for catching the warm morning sun.

    Testament to its 19th-century beginnings, Bianco House, evolved from a single-storey, weatherboard home, modest in size yet abundant in character. The Edwardian, with its trademark ornate ceilings and delicate fretwork, had previously undergone a partial update. The front rooms were modernised with a Nordic touch; lime-washed baltic pine underfoot and interiors adorned with a white-on-white palette.

    The client brief was to create a double-storey renovation to the rear, including a new kitchen and dining area, plus an ensuite bedroom with a walk-in robe above – not a straightforward endeavour considering the block is only seven metres wide. This, combined with irregularities of neighbouring properties, plus a northwest rear orientation, requiring a balance of sun and shade, provided a meticulous task for the chosen designer.

    Ha Architecture responded with their signature approach: redefining the ‘constraints’ as opportunities to create unique architectural moments. “With small footprint living, being selective with space is fundamental, ” Ha Architecture principal Nick Harding says. “The key is to tip spacial generously where it is needed most, such as the primary habitable areas; kitchen and dining, while consolidating secondary spaces; bedrooms and bathrooms.” As a result, Ha Architecture redefined the partially renovated Edwardian into one harmonious home by incorporating secret doors, cabinetry integration, and clever geometry.

    The smart connection between kitchen and courtyard consolidate into one indoor, outdoor family room.

    “Providing everything is ergonomically resolved, you can unlock amazing architectural opportunities within small spaces.”


    – Nick Harding

    Concealed hallway doors cleverly disguise a laundry complete with high-performance Fisher & Paykel white goods.

    The contrasting entrance from old to new, featuring a 30-degree roofline, creates visual interest.

    In line with the owner’s brief, Ha Architecture continued the clean, Scandinavian aesthetic from the front of the home throughout the new addition, playing with textural whites and timber to add earthen warmth. A geometric entrance with a 30-degree roof line marries the existing home to the new addition, providing contrast and intrigue.

    Ha Architecture specified Fisher & Paykel appliances for their energy efficiency and integration in the kitchen. The design team cleverly tucked necessities, including a pantry and an integrated refrigerator, away inside the staircase void. At the same time, the Double Dishdrawer™ dishwasher is neatly integrated behind the rear under-counter cabinetry and the rangehood disguised through above-counter shelving.

    Interesting to note in the stairway is a towering double-storey void with skylight, allowing a previously confined space to feel generous and elevated. An external prototype louvre system over the skylight also provides evolving ‘shadow play’ throughout the day. “We were fastidious with all external glass windows to either protect or provide external sunshine,” Nick says. “The skylight, in particular, was designed precisely for sun paths, inviting maximum winter light and warmth when you want it while providing shade in summer when it’s too warm,” he adds.

    The 21st Century redesign of Bianco House by Ha Architecture showcases how big dreams can be achieved within small spaces. It’s the realisation of a new family home that is both practical in its function, yet inviting and aesthetically pleasing.

    Explore Fisher & Paykel integrated appliances in the est living Product Library here

    The main downstairs bathroom tying in the kitchen mosaic tile features ambient early morning sunshine.

    The canopy above the rear doors provides material protection and sunshade. “The back end of the house was at risk of overshadowing the neighbour’s courtyard, so to mitigate that, the roof was cleverly tapered down as low as possible to that side boundary,” Nick says.

    “The extension’s vertical white cladding sets off the horizontal white weatherboard of the old home. In form and materials, it suggests a neo-Gothic, outback aesthetic that draws the eye but never jars,” Nick says.

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