Peek House, by Kuzman Architecture is the transformation of a Victorian-era cottage located in Brunswick. Acknowledging the character and charm of the original dwelling, the practice endeavoured to translate this into a contemporary context. This was achieved through the showcase of both old and new, rough and smooth and dark and light.
The original dwelling was enclosed and dark, which required immediate attention from the practice in order to properly unlock the house. Two bedrooms at the front and a living room at the rear offered no connection to the garden, mainly due to a number of additions implemented by previous owners.
The brief was to provide a separate kids area, a larger integrated living space that connects to the garden, new modern amenities, and to introduce much-needed natural light and volume on what is a very tight site. The client’s asked specifically for the practice to add to the charm of the home, bringing a sense of individuality to the additions.
The building’s heritage verandah, front entry, and main bedroom were retained and restored in an effort to remain true to the dwelling’s Victorian stylings. The second bedroom was converted into a bathroom/laundry hybrid, by inserting half-height tiled partitions. Retained rough-textured brickwork and fireplaces maintains the house’s history, contrasting dramatically against crisp new materials of the living addition. The material palette was kept to a minimum, allowing the contemporary principles of light, texture, and volumes to be the centre of attention. The children’s area sits beneath a steep asymmetrical roofline, with framed voids between floors bringing light to below whilst giving views to the peeked volumes above.
A triangular window perched between the old and new rooflines doubles as a sundial that flashes various beams of light. Previously cooped up, the time of day and seasons are now at the heart of the house. As a worker’s terrace cottage, the home sits amongst a row of similar forms. The tight site and planning conditions informed the new asymmetrical roofline that peaks subtly above existing roof lines from the rear laneway, but remains concealed when looking from the front.
While there was a fair portion of funds poured into rectifying the cottage, a number of cost-saving measures resulted in opportunities for the practice to bring a certain poise to the home. An off-the-shelf staircase was emboldened with terracotta paint and left exposed, with the kitchen cabinetry paired back to its frame.
Both original and new sections of the house had insulation added to walls, ceiling, floorboards, and concrete slab to meet new energy standards. Windows are double glazed with openings that enable good cross-flow ventilation. The new design focussed on opportunities for Northern and Western light and solar gain. Western windows have custom awnings to protect against the summer sun. Gas fixtures were made redundant and there is provision for a future solar system. The site has a 3000ltr rainwater harvesting system for garden irrigation and toilet flushing.
Peek House is the embodiment of a contemporary touch on a Victorian era dwelling. Using their architectural expertise to ensure the home remained conscious of its past, Kuzman Architecture have brought life and light to the house, giving the clients and their children spaces to live within, while extending the life and times of the dwelling itself.