Home Tour | Clifton Hill Courtyard House by Eliza Blair Architecture and Studio MKN

  • Eliza Blair Architecture introduce a contemporary, light-filled brick and glass extension to a double-fronted weatherboard worker’s cottage, seamlessly connecting indoor and outdoor spaces. 

    Located in Melbourne’s north, the Clifton Hill Courtyard House sees Eliza Blair Architecture together with interior design practice Studio MKN, yield natural light and greenery to completely transform an existing family home. The new spatial layout accommodates the family’s desire for flexibility and growth, featuring a new double-storey garden studio, central amenities, courtyard and master suite.

    The Brief

    Architect Eliza Blair worked closely with Studio MKN to transform the interior and rear of a double-fronted weatherboard cottage into a dynamic family home to accommodate the needs of a growing family. The brief called for a range of spaces for different ages and household needs; purposefully adaptable for a growing teenager to retreat, along with open spaces young twin boys can play and explore in and a private space for overseas visitors. The project’s key challenges included a narrow site with a south street frontage and the family’s desire to explore future-proofing within the home’s spatial configurations.

    What Transpired

    The architectural response was to introduce a garden studio with an ensuite, mezzanine and the flexibility to accommodate a teenage retreat, home office, gym or storage. The studio is nestled within the courtyard with access to the adjacent laneway. Along with the landscaping and greenery provided by the courtyard, the deciduous bottle brush tree is a central visual feature of the residence, changing colour between seasons.

    Taking full advantage of the outdoor space was a fundamental design decision to flood the communal living spaces with natural light while subsequently building on biophilic benefits through the visual connection to the greenery and landscaped spaces.

    The Palette

    A muted, natural material palette grounds the building within the surrounding greenery. The bricks, paired with the timber flooring and shiplap whitewash timber ceiling, soften the home’s interior, providing a cohesive, modern and calm backdrop for the family’s life, art and furniture.

    The materiality and use of timber in the design are further complimented by the texturally rich terrazzo kitchen benchtop and feature wall in striking Signorino Bianco Neve

    The Clifton Hill Courtyard House demonstrates careful consideration for visual connections between living spaces, allowing the family to feel a sense of independence and intimacy. Creating zones for different ages through an understanding of spatial thresholds and planning, the home successfully engages with the courtyard greenery and garden studio.

    In addition to the retention of the existing building, the sustainable design elements include passive solar design, insulation of walls and ceiling, double-glazed windows, thermal mass and solar panels on the roof.

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