A California Bungalow That Changes With The Seasons

‘Bringing the outdoors in’ is a commonly desired outcome of contemporary architecture projects.

Typically achieved through large windows and garden views, Malvern East house designed by Pipkorn Kilpatrick and architects Picnic Design Studio goes above and beyond, to consider the movement of light and shadows throughout the day.

Anna Skermer, co-founder of Pipkorn Kilpatrick, explains, ‘Bringing the outdoors in goes much further than views out to the garden, but also the changing mood of the seasons along with the feeling of breeze from cross ventilation design. This home functions in a way that allows you to experience the ever-changing elements — never feeling closed off from nature.’

The project started with a California bungalow with a previously added ‘dysfunctional’ extension. ‘It desperately needed ceilings lifted with better flow and access to the large west-facing garden, says Anna. ‘The backyard consisted of a hugely oversized and low-pitched solid ceiling pergola that protruded into the backyard, making it feel much smaller than it was.

Pipkorn Kilpatrick and Picnic Design Studio resolved to overcome these issues with a new extension and reconfiguration of the existing house.

A linkway bridge creates an ‘obvious and clean’ divide between the old and new areas of the room, leading into the 97 square metre addition. ‘The bridge also gives incredible garden views and funnels natural light into the darker end of the Californian bungalow zone,’ says Anna.

The extension reveals the kitchen and dining areas orientated to gain optimum light through heightened ceilings and highlight windows expanding the full length of the northern aspect.

‘This prevented the west-facing backyard from being the main light source and meant eaves to the west and over selective windows would protect the home from the harsh heat without stealing too much light,’ explains Anna.

The cosier living area, overlooking the outdoor entertaining area, sits opposite the kitchen and benefits from the shade of established trees along the northern fence line. An openable window seat invites engaging with the outdoors and observing every changing landscape.

‘The spaces make you aware of the weather outside — the changing light and shadows — while feeling protected and cosy,’ says Anna. ‘A central open fireplace to the lounge enhancing this feeling.’

Warm white walls complement timber joinery and allow abundant natural light from all the different angles and orientations to create interest and play on the simple palette of finishes.

The addition also houses the laundry, pantry, powder room and study (the latter with pool views) in their own wing tucked along the south side.

Rooms in the original portion of the home were reworked to house four bedrooms, two bathrooms and an additional living area. Skylights and generous mirrors in the bathrooms funnel in light while creating privacy from overlooking neighbours.

Together with Picnic Design Studio, Pipkorn Kilpatrick have designed a modern and light-filled home, sympathetic to the original California bungalow.

‘The double height void to the kitchen and dining area, although impressive internally, remains unassuming externally to keep the extension proportional to the existing footprint, block size, heritage frontage, existing style and request to maximise garden outlooks,’ Anna says.

The complementary extension is in no way overbearing, using modern materials that suit the weatherboard frontage, without resorting to imitation.

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