Also a huge thank you to Janet Dunn over at Houzz for the amazing write up on our Albert Park House Attic Extension! For this Melbourne space, we dabbled in a few different areas: interior as well exterior design, custom-made contemporary furniture design, and a complete renovation for some spaces. Read Janet’s write up below!
Stickybeak of the Week: An Elegant Outside-the-Box Attic Conversion
Inner city terrace houses are not renowned for their extensive spaces, and with heritage protection orders safeguarding many of Melbourne’s examples from the Victorian era, expansion of a terrace footprint is not always practical, possible, or permitted. When the owner of this already-renovated single-fronted terrace wanted to add extra living space, he found a lofty solution – a first floor attic at the rear of the house, which had been an uninspiring spot which he was using to store old furniture.
Tommaso from Spinzi Design is at a loss to define this renovation. “I don’t know what to call it really,” he says. “A study, a retreat, independent living unit…” The crux of the owner’s brief was flexibility, suitability for different age groups. It was to include a living area, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, study, built-in wardrobe and balcony. In facti, this is in line with the owner’s vision, an exterior gate, leads into the rear of the property to an external staircase, giving separate access.
The staircase that leads internally to the attic is situated in the lounge and TV room of the main house. “It was pretty small and narrow, and presented some problems for moving large pieces of furniture and building materials,” says Spinzi.
The staircase opens straight into this attic living area, now unrecognizably smart and fresh. Also a small kitchenette, viewing niche and bathroom (behind the black framed door) sit adjacent to the top of the stairs.
Always following the owner`s taste
The owner’s taste was for modern functional furniture and an un-fussy palette of white accented with black. This colour scheme was chosen to reflect the aesthetic of the many modern and abstract artworks displayed throughout both the main house and the attic. Also, it relates closely to the external facades of the house.
Centre of attention in the living room is a pair of armchairs displaying the elegant economy of line of good mid-century design. These are Paulistano, in a black powder-coated frame and supple black leather, designed in 1957 by Brazilian designer Paulo Mendes Da Rocha.
Hardwood floors: Woodcut; silk and wool rug: Behruz Studio
A set of double folding doors lead from the living area to the bedroom and study. The striking perforated detail, framed in black, comprises hand-drilled 50-millimetre holes ringed with a hard synthetic material. “The holes give a modern and airy feel and add a touch of playfulness to the design,” says Spinzi.
Most of the cabinetry was designed by Spinzi, including this cabinet. This holds some of the owner’s design books and quirky pieces. Also, it hides the view of the bedroom when the doors are open.
Spinzi has used every inch of space. In fact the tucked behind the screening cabinet is a small open hanging and drawer space for clothing.
he rear side of the screening cabinet forms the bedhead, complete with built-in bedside shelves.
Optimizing every space
Being directly under the roof, the rooms are vulnerable to Melbourne’s renowned summer heat. The existing insulation was in good condition but air conditioning was installed to supplement it. Therefore extra storage has also been added with under-bed drawers. Two skylights in the angled roof, the sitting room, the bedroom and study area, bring in welcome natural light.
Mercury Executive desk chair: Rosier One side of the folding door opens to the study area, for which Spinzi designed the cabinetry and incorporated built-in filing cabinets. It is possible to slide the desk out and serve as a dining table when needed.
Wide sliding windows above the desk allow a view of exterior greenery. In fact, translucent woven roller blinds from In Vogue Blinds were chosen for their light minimalist Japanese aesthetic, cutting out some heat but allowing a filtered view of foliage.
Integrating the owner’s requirements for a flexible multi-functional space with a modern aesthetic was Spinzi’s main challenge. “I focused on creating smart, casual space with a modern eclectic style. Always keeping in mind the owner’s love of art and artistic tastes,”. In fact his involvement in the project shows how the attic is now a reflection of him.”
Spinzi has repeated the black-and-white palette and modern design theme in the bathroom, located adjacent to the kitchenette. In fact the striped black, white and charcoal waterproof wallpaper that sweeps up one wall and across the ceiling is ‘Charcoal Stripe‘ from Wall Candy. The crisp monochrome stripes are with metallic detail and make a striking reflection in the fitted mirror.
Spinzi’s preliminary design sketches and 3D model show how a space of less than 50 square meters. In fact it has accommodated what is a complete and compact living space. Therefore, the connection to the exterior happens with a small private deck which you can access from the living room. It allows visitors to enjoy the view of the Japanese-style garden below.
The garden gate has a minimal approach and it is in rust iron with laser cuts .