From the architect:

A relaxed, beach-like addition has been added to an existing Spanish mission house in Hampton, Melbourne. A courtyard deck separates the two and creates an outdoor heart to the dwelling, drawing in natural light and a connection to the outdoor environment.


This young family had an unusual and refreshing approach to a brief; instead of a list of rooms and spaces, they provided an insight into their family life, how they related to the existing house and site, and the kind of environment they would like to live in. With three young boys, the project brief included a race track and native forest in the rear garden, and a home where the kids could drag the outside inside and always have sticky fingers. The house was to be relaxed as a beach house, but flexible for many different uses and stages of family life.

The existing house was largely retained, with a linking passage extending from the old house into the garden. The new addition sits at the end of this, forming a sheltered deck space between the old and new. Sliding glazed doors draw the deck inside, to be used as an extended living space in summer.

A dining area separates the two wings of the addition, with a combined kitchen and living, and kids bedroom wing on the west. The social areas are ‘carved-out’ of one fluid space, made distinct by grey hand-painted ceilings, step-downs and sliding doors. Large steps lead down from the dining area to a sheltered patio, carefully preserved camellia tree and the garden beyond. The edge of the house forms the fringe of the garden, to be inhabited by the family and gently infiltrated by the garden.


The client’s budget guided decision-making throughout the project. Several options for time and cost delivery were explored, such as SIPs and prefabrication. The project increased slightly in size and scope from the initial concept design. Several builders provided early indicative pricings and the client adjusted their budget to accommodate the requirements deemed essential to the house. A cost consultant also provided a reference pricing. After a delayed 12 months (the clients and architect both had babies) and negotiations with the builder, the final scope was resolved at less than the cost consultant’s report. The outcome is a well-priced addition that resuscitates the existing house and site and provides a high-performing family home.


The clients approached the project with strong sustainability principles, which have been addressed through passive design and insulation. An option of SIPs panels and prefabrication was explored but traditional building techniques were adopted for affordability. Zoning and acoustic insulation was utilised to separate the children’s wing from the dining area. Air conditioning was installed in the kitchen living space only, to be utilised as a ‘camp-out’ area on nights of extreme heat. Natural light and connection to the outdoors and garden were key criteria that have been achieved.