A hidden retreat in the hearth of Melbourne.

 

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.

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.