Fitzroy Residence

Year: 2013 - 2014

This project aimed to upgrade a substandard residential conversion of a tiny warehouse into a comfortable home and home-office for a professional couple.

The project has been a test of how much amenity can be achieved entirely within the envelope of an existing small space.

Utilising the height of the existing space to increase the mezzanine level it has been possible to provide an additional 31m2 of floor space to provide an additional Bedroom, Gallery office and Shower room. This has allowed removal of a second room at ground floor level to expand the living space.  A small section of roof has been removed to create a 6m2 courtyard at the upper level with large glazed doors to the Gallery space and shower room.  In conjunction with operable roof windows and openable windows above the Garage door, cross ventilation and much improved levels of daylighting are provided throughout the building, including the ground floor living area and Kitchen and to the downstairs Bathroom through obscure glass walls.

Creating a light and ventilation shaft through the upper level to an operable roof window, the existing ground floor Bedroom is provided with natural light and ventilation.

This project is innovative in it’s approach to increasing space within an existing volume.  By taking space out of the volume to provide a roof deck it has been possible to provide not only an outdoor living space, but large areas of windows which provide high levels of natural light and cross ventilation throughout the whole building.  Minimal reworking of the existing space and materials, and insertion of  additional mezzanine floor area have significantly increased the usable space and provide a warm aesthetic throughout.  This project has turned an un-inhabitable space into a comfortable generous home.

Transport efficiency is provided by the location of the residence close to public transport and within walking distance of work for one of the occupants.  Provision of a home-office in the new space at mezzanine level means that the other occupant does not have to regularly travel to the work office. Improving the amenity and comfort of this small building envelope supports an improved density for inner suburb living.  

Reusing existing structure and finished surfaces limited materials use. The inserted floor is detailed for minimum thickness to achieve appropriate ceiling heights. Existing roof trusses were modified by strengthening the top chords and removing the bottom chords to allow height for the upper level. Damaged ceilings were removed to allow installation of insulation and replaced by thin plywood. Timber products are all from sustainable sources.

An innovative approach to increasing space within an existing residence by reducing the volume to insert a roof deck, adding outdoor living space and large areas of windows to provide natural light and ventilation.  Insertion of mezzanine floors has significantly increased the usable space and provide a warm aesthetic throughout.