Elwood House was one of many Californian bungalows in Melbourne’s Elwood that was in poor condition. Despite its state, the 100-year-old home had its bones intact. Its owner also still valued the history and style of the building.

The home just needed a bit of work, and this is where Star Architecture came into the picture.

Demolishing the cramped rear section of the dwelling, the architects were able to design a contrasting double-storey addition to the existing home. The extension is respectful of its neighbours and the streetscape, and is not prominent from the street front.


The ground-floor addition – which houses the kitchen and living space – features a dark render and a glass shell that makes the most of the natural northern light. New windows are framed with timber, referencing the formal heritage detailing of the existing home.


“The transparent box soaks up the natural northern and western light and utilises reflection from the existing pool to further bounce light around the internal space. It is a bright, spacious centre for gathering, sharing and enjoying the connection to the garden, barbeque and pool,” says the architect.

Upstairs, the box addition – which accommodates the children’s bedrooms – takes somewhat of a different design approach with a smooth off-white cement render.

“The new first-floor addition distinguishes itself from the more transparent ground floor as a solid monolithic box,” says the architect.

It is offset from and overhangs the ground-floor envelope, providing shading below and moderating the bulk of the overall mass.


Despite the difference approaches, spotted gum elements feature throughout the build uniting the two new structures.  

In addition, details such as the tuckpointing of fa├žade brickwork, a new cobbled bluestone driveway, a reinstated timber fence and a formal geometric front garden has strengthened the heritage fabric of the street.