Middle Park renewal

Middle Park is a sleepy yet in-demand enclave well-situated within the slither of beachside suburbs stretching between Melbourne city and St Kilda.

With ageing housing stock and strict heritage and planning controls, renovating in this area is never a simple task. The goal here was to achieve a spacious and light-filled home within a very confined envelope.

The unassuming 19th Century terrace house purchased by our middle-aged clients within an intact Middle Park streetscape was fraught with planning complexities, and these had a strong bearing on possible design outcomes.

heritage frontage
The 19th Century facade

One hurdle was the site’s poor orientation. To compensate, we used techniques such as a clerestory – a high section of wall that contains windows above eye level to admit light, fresh air, or both, as well as voids to allow light to penetrate into the rear of the building.

The resulting volume supported our efforts to create a thermal chimney, drawing hot air up and away via strategically placed openable skylights. These skylights have rain sensors and integrated blinds enabling a set-and-forget approach to living.

Construction complexities were revealed at demolition when it was revealed that there was no fire rating or even insulation in the walls to the front of the dwelling. This required imaginative, quick and tactile thinking to remedy an issue long thought resolved in inner Melbourne. {??}

It was challenging to incorporate a second storey while still maintaining original ceiling heights to the ground floor but we think we found an aesthetically pleasing solution.

The overall building mass fell within Council’s prescriptive guidelines for the site, restricting any visual bulk from being seen from the street.

Client testimonial

Michael Ellis took our ideas and dreams for a renovation and turned them into a home that exceeds our expectations.

We have a single fronted Victorian terrace which is south facing. He created a design which has so much light and height that when people see it for the first time they can’t believe the size of our new home on this little block.

Michael listened to our story and what was important to us and how we imagined living in this house. Finding a great builder and Council approval were daunting for us newbies but he supported and navigated us through those processes.

All of the architectural ideas that he gently challenged us to include in the design significantly enhanced the end result. We love everything about our new home and would recommend working with Michael to anyone thinking of renovating their home.