A Contemporary Response to a Classic Californian Bungalow- Coburg House By Lisa Breeze Architect

Words by Athena Regos
Photography by Caitlin Mills
A Contemporary Response To A Classic Californian Bungalow

An innovative and contemporary response to a classic Californian bungalow restoration in Melbourne’s north, Coburg House by Lisa Breeze Architect is a lovingly restored family home paying reverence to the heritage features of the era.

“Homes should be beautiful, functional, and honour their setting in a crafted but simple manner without over-complication or over-spending,” illustrates Lisa. Coburg House embodies this design philosophy. The home is compact and ingenious in its controlled scope and footprint. However, it is also bespoke and gentle in the way that it serves its family of three. Recognising that the form of the Californian bungalow was such a simple, yet robust design movement, “we sought to pay homage to this at the rear of the home – with a contemporary spin,” says Lisa. The form of the extension acknowledges the distinct shape of the existing façade of the Californian bungalow and is crafted beautifully with the patterned three-dimensional cladding sitting on the exposed, recycled brick plinth.

Coburg House 18
3D timber cladding of the extension creates a lovely shadow play on the rear form built by Never Stop Group. Photography by Caitlin Mills.

“Before we arrived, the homeowners had restored the front of the house with utmost respect and were seeking guidance to create functional, and beautiful spaces with plenty of natural light in a small footprint,” says Lisa. The clients were looking to expand the house, but only slightly, and endeavoured to make the most practical and efficient use of the interior possible. Lisa, together with her team, converted the old living-room into a walk-through laundry, bathroom, and powder room. Meanwhile, the kitchen remained in the same position, yet had a comprehensive overhaul, and the rest of the house was opened up for the meals, living, and informal study space. Typically, Californian bungalows are quite wide, so the clients were keen to obtain as much natural light into the home as possible and, of course, gain more storage space.

Typically, Californian Bungalows Are Quite Wide, So The Clients Were Keen To Obtain As Much Natural Light Into The Home As Possible And,
The respected restoration of the front of Coburg House by its homeowners. Photography by Caitlin Mills.
Coburg House Embodies This Design Philosophy
Natural light shining through from the skylight over the new homely meals area styled by Natalie James. Photography by Caitlin Mills.
Homes Should Be Beautiful, Functional, And Honour Their Setting In A Crafted But Simple Manner Without Over Complication Or Over Spending
The transition from old to new in Coburg House. Photography by Caitlin Mills.

Visual and physical connections to the backyard were limited before the renovation, so the new openings enhance natural light, ventilation, access, and views. As a result of this approach, the extension at the rear end of the home that accompanied the new living, meals, and kitchen was the section in which Lisa played with the ceiling forms “to create spaces within spaces and used several skylights to bring soft natural light into the centre of the home,” she says.

3d Timber Cladding Of The Extension Creates A Lovely Shadow Play On The Rear Form Built By Never Stop Group
Playing with ceiling forms while creating spaces within spaces and connecting with the outdoors. Photography by Caitlin Mills.
An Innovative And Contemporary Response To A Classic Californian Bungalow Restoration In Melbourne’s North

Sustainability was a priority for everyone involved with the project, and was at the forefront of the design scope alongside achieving natural light, overall footprint, and respecting the heritage details. In this way, the implementation of basic sustainable design principles, primarily by responding to the existing conditions and site orientation, was essential. The solutions covered a reliance on cross-ventilation for cooling, deep window reveals and deciduous vines for shading in the summer while upholding the compelled overall footprint. At the same time, the use of recycled timber for the flooring, recycled brick for the walls, and low maintenance and durable finishes both inside and out was key to the design’s overall sustainability.

The Form Of The Extension Acknowledges The Distinct Shape Of The Existing Façade Of The Californian Bungalow And Is Crafted Beautifully W

“Homes should be beautiful, functional, and honour their setting in a crafted but simple manner without over-complication or over-spending.”

Coburg House By Lisa Breeze Architect Is A Lovingly Restored Family Home Paying Reverence To The Heritage Features Of The Era.
The timber and brick theme also featured indoors with a recycled brick boundary wall that forms the back of the entertainment unit, storage and desk. Photography by Caitlin Mills.
However, It Is Also Bespoke And Gentle In The Way That It Serves Its Family Of Three
Outdoor setting on the deck under deciduous vines for shading in the summer. Photography by Caitlin Mills.

One of the main challenged for Coburg House was fitting the design brief into the desired footprint. The clients had a specific list of requirements that they wanted to achieve in a set amount of space. In saying this, Lisa believes it is the architect’s responsibility to respond to these sorts of challenges through the design process, while at the same time working with the owners. Coburg House is a key example of this, and it was “resolved beautifully and served its purpose,” with the prescribed limitations on space understood as a “happy challenge”. Ultimately, the brief was achieved through a combination of re-purposing the existing spaces and adding a small extension to the side and back of the home.

With an efficient use of space and attention to sustainable design principles, the Coburg House pays homage to the form of the original Californian bungalow, while responding to the imperatives of contemporary city living.

We Sought To Pay Homage To This At The Rear Of The Home – With A Contemporary Spin
Timber bench-tops and ample storage provided throughout the kitchen. Photography by Caitlin Mills.
The Home Is Compact And Ingenious In Its Controlled Scope And Footprint
Coburg House’s natural textures, colours, and patterns featuring throughout. Photography by Caitlin Mills.