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Wilston Bungalow

November 03, 2017 · House Renovations, Interiors

We found this 1950s bungalow in original condition [mint!]. These modest dwellings – many based on architectural plans from the Queensland Housing Commission are not held in the same esteem as the pre-war Queenslander and yet have unique charm and a build quality that surpasses the timber and tin suburban stock. 

Adopting a strategy that embraces the bungalow typology in both materiality and manner is central to the conceptual framework. Re-planning of both internal arrangement and creating a relationship to the garden were the major architectural challenges. Incorporating new and inventive detailing to enhance the simplicity of the original architecture. Internally walls were removed to better connect the living room and kitchen whilst the bathroom was replanned and an ensuite added. Removing the bricked-in partitions of the front and rear patios enabled new architecture to bring the garden into the home. Creating a landscape that suited the house and related to the interior was critical, as was opening vistas to the surrounding parkland. New brickwork stairs (front & rear) and plinths, including a patio chaise, have been added to improve these connections. Existing brick screens are replaced with much lighter and permeable timber and wire inter-woven as inspired by 1950s furniture. This opens up the patios and the materiality of the screens and new brickwork contrasts the original terracotta pavers which are preserved. 

The main architectural intervention is the roof to the rear patio which is an angular extrusion of the original geometry designed to frame the south west eucalypts in the adjacent park. The new structure intervenes into the kitchen interior and opens the vista up and out, into the landscape. 

The asbestos clad garage had a suspended hardwood floor and neat terracotta roof that demanded a higher calling. Re-orientated via a small connecting timber and brick patio the satellite structure is integrated to the house and garden. Reclad, remodelled and repurposed as a floristry studio and a multi-purpose room, and there is a playful re-use of existing doors and windows. 

The interior design of the house subtly draws on the qualities of the original whilst improving the functionality of the rooms. Bathrooms are new and modern using classic tiling not dissimilar to the era and re-purposing the existing pink basin and bath fixtures into the ensuite. The plan is increased by a cantilever under the existing roof eave to enable a fireplace in the living area where a brick hearth is a visual constant with the exterior. The kitchen is positioned purposefully at the threshold of the patio and garden is a double-galley (race-track) arrangement. The island table is designed to enhance the social side of kitchen dwelling and the neat circular dining area is compactly built into an existing casement glazed corner. 

The new carport is located over the existing tyre-tracked driveway and repeats the material elements of brick and woven battens. Simple chain wire and timber fence gates complete the new street elevation. 

Photography Mindi Cooke