The homeowners of one turn-of-the-century home in Ballarat, Australia, wanted to still honor their home’s original design, but they had to meet the needs of their growing family.
“The house was too small, and baby number three was on the way,” said designer Mick Moloney of Ballarat-based Moloney Architects. “Our requirements were for a robust family home, but we were challenged by a tight budget.”
To open up the small home and create a working kitchen space, the team added what looked like a “wooden box” to the rear of the home with a glass-covered side. Using low-cost materials like plywood and formply wood, they were able to join the new area to the original home through a connection space. This allows the original roof structure to remain unchanged.
This addition also takes advantage of the sun with its open side. It was important to the clients to have an eco-friendly home, and the sunlight helps to naturally heat up the home in the cooler environment.
“This group of vertical windows captures long shafts of sunlight that reach right to the very back of our central living space,” said Moloney, who worked alongside Jules Moloney on the project. “The space receives plenty of natural light and also has a positive psychological effect of feeling warm and cheery. It makes those chilly Ballarat winters much more bearable.”
Using SketchUp, the team designed a layout that centers around the island. This long island needed to match the openness of the surrounding design, so the team made it completely open underneath.
“We wanted the island to float off the floor – a bit like a piece of furniture with legs,” he said. “Seeing underneath the unit makes the space feel lighter and larger.”
Dark cabinets contrast the prevalence of light-colored wood in the space. These cabinet faces are made from inexpensive black formply, and the rear service bench is stainless steel – perfect for a busy family. The island is topped with Carrara marble for a touch of natural texture to complete the composition.
“Everyday they can have a cup of tea and sit and watch the kids play in the garden,” said Moloney. “It can get down below freezing in Ballarat, and we’ve found the sunlight access here in the kitchen keeps up cheer throughout the winter.”