Architecture

"Bleakest ever dining room" turned into light-filled heart of home

"Bleakest ever dining room" tu...
Newry House turns what Austin Maynard Architects describes as "one of the smallest, darkest, bleakest dining rooms to ever exist" into a light-filled center of the family home
Newry House turns what Austin Maynard Architects describes as "one of the smallest, darkest, bleakest dining rooms to ever exist" into a light-filled center of the family home
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Newry House is a suburban terrace located in Melbourne, Australia
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Newry House is a suburban terrace located in Melbourne, Australia
Newry House turns what Austin Maynard Architects describes as "one of the smallest, darkest, bleakest dining rooms to ever exist" into a light-filled center of the family home
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Newry House turns what Austin Maynard Architects describes as "one of the smallest, darkest, bleakest dining rooms to ever exist" into a light-filled center of the family home
Newry House features significant greenery in the kitchen
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Newry House features significant greenery in the kitchen
Newry House's old kitchen unit has been ripped out and replaced with a modern and space-saving unit
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Newry House's old kitchen unit has been ripped out and replaced with a modern and space-saving unit
Newry House's original floorboards have been replaced with concrete and integrated hydronic heating
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Newry House's original floorboards have been replaced with concrete and integrated hydronic heating
Newry House's kitchen includes a Studio Italia bench, which provides additional seating space and storage
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Newry House's kitchen includes a Studio Italia bench, which provides additional seating space and storage
Newry House's new kitchen unit continues into the living room and provides additional storage space
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Newry House's new kitchen unit continues into the living room and provides additional storage space
Newry House's kitchen unit doubles as a staircase and has integrated storage space
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Newry House's kitchen unit doubles as a staircase and has integrated storage space
Newry House's upstairs includes a small play area
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Newry House's upstairs includes a small play area
Newry House had already undergone a renovation in the 1990s to add an upstairs area
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Newry House had already undergone a renovation in the 1990s to add an upstairs area
Newry House's downstairs bedroom includes a small home office area
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Newry House's downstairs bedroom includes a small home office area
Newry House's glazed roof ensures lots of light inside
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Newry House's glazed roof ensures lots of light inside
Newry House's glazing can be covered with remote-controlled blinds if required
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Newry House's glazing can be covered with remote-controlled blinds if required
View gallery - 13 images

With its recently-completed Newry House renovation, Australia's Austin Maynard Architects has performed what it likens to "architectural keyhole surgery" to turn the cramped and dark center of a Melbourne terraced house into a light-filled heart of the home. The firm also improved its energy efficiency along the way with additions that include a Tesla Powerwall.

Newry House serves as home to a family of four and measures 129 sq m (1,388 sq ft), though the renovation only concerned an area of 93 sq m (1,000 sq ft). It had already undergone a renovation in the 1990s to an upper floor and, since the budget was tight, the firm focused its efforts on overhauling the areas deemed essential.

Newry House is a suburban terrace located in Melbourne, Australia
Newry House is a suburban terrace located in Melbourne, Australia

"Apart from new carpets and joinery in all three bedrooms, the front and the back parts of the house remain largely untouched," explains Austin Maynard Architects. "The 'rotten' middle section of the house was gutted, including the old timber floor, replaced by a thermally efficient, hydronically heated, concrete slab. A wall that once separated the kitchen from one of the smallest, darkest, bleakest dining rooms to ever exist, was also removed, opening up the kitchen/living dining space. The ceiling, and above it a leaky roof deck outside the main bedroom, was also demolished and a large pitched glass roof with sliding awnings installed."

The glass roof certainly fills the kitchen/dining room with daylight, though if shade is needed, the owner can use a remote control to close the sliding awnings. Additionally, an existing kitchen unit took up a lot of space so it was ripped out and a large new one was installed that continues into the living room and combines kitchen area, staircase, and storage space. A bench near the dining table provides extra seating and more storage, plus some greenery was added too.

Newry House's kitchen unit doubles as a staircase and has integrated storage space
Newry House's kitchen unit doubles as a staircase and has integrated storage space

The living room is tastefully furnished with a sofa and chairs, with a perforated steel screen separating the staircase. Elsewhere on the ground floor lies a bedroom with home office, a laundry room and a bathroom, while there are two more bedrooms and a second bathroom upstairs.

During the renovation, new windows and doors were installed to cut down on drafts. As well as the hydronic heated concrete floor, solar panels on the roof were added and connected to a Tesla Powerwall system.

Source: Austin Maynard Architects

View gallery - 13 images
7 comments
piperTom
The "perforated steel screen" shown looks like a dust catcher and it's quite high; it'll be hard to clean. The sofa in the pic seems to block access to the storage and there seems to be no access to most of the under stair area. I'd expect better of professional design.
DavidB
I thought the same about the space behind the sofa, @piperTom, but look at photo #5 in the gallery: There seems to be plenty of room for the relatively narrow doors to swing open without hitting the back of the sofa. Also, the seams in the triangular space under the lower half of the staircase imply (to me) that they might be doors, too, just without handles (the absence of which may mean that I'm incorrect) if they have the "push-to-latch/unlatch" type of closing mechanism. (If I'm correct, I'd have used the same type of closing mechanism across the entire face of that under-stairs storage area.) As for the perforated steel screen, I really like it, and it should be easy to clean from the side with the stair steps, using a brush on the end of a vacuum-cleaner hose.
Username
It's hard to compare before and after when there are no before pictures.
los_kiosk
Who paid for it? A normal person who can afford this kind of property is most likely not going to have the enormous budget that would be needed to achieve this transformation.
Worzel
From my experience, with roof lights, the only problem with glass roofs, is that when it rains, or hails, the noise can be deafening! If the hailstones are large, the bill for replacing the glass can be pauperising, even if the blinds are closed in time. On a low roof like the one shown, they can be a security risk when the owners are away on holiday. Otherwise, the place looks perfectly liveable, given the space restrictions.
Tommo
For an item like this, before and after shots are an absolute neccessity.
ljaques
The glass roof would provide several things. Loud rainstorms, hot summers, cold winters, faded furniture/flooring/cabinetry, and glare every day. Electric bills would be high. Bright blue screens? But it does provide a nice bright kitchen. That is not the prettiest face on that set of houses.