Brave New Eco
Brunswick West, VIC, Australia
The Peacock Street Project by Melbourne based interior design Studio Brave New Eco is a residential project located in the inner city suburb of Brunswick West. This bungalow style home is a true testimony to the immeasurable benefits of environmentally sustainable interior design. Read on to discover how the Brave New Eco team transformed an outdated and dark home into a visually stunning space filled with joy and light.
The young family who lives here wanted to upgrade the efficiency of their Californian bungalow and create better spaces for family life. Central to Brave New Eco’s design approach is a philosophy that believes a home should be an authentic expression of the inhabitants’ values. The studio were guided by the clients’ tastes and preference for classic early to mid 20th century style and design. The clients were trusting in head designer Megan Norgate’s interpretation of this and a rich palette of burnt oranges, deep teal blues and soft greens was used.
The original house was dark and lacked any visual connection to the garden and as avid gardeners, the clients were keen to open the home to the productive veggie gardens and northern sunlight. The home had many wonderful, pre-existing art deco-style features however previous renovations had added poorly configured small rooms onto the back; resulting in a house that lacked natural light, felt closed in, and cost a fortune to heat in the winter.
Brave New Eco sought to remove the sense of being enclosed by opening the whole house up internally through the centre. This was achieved by turning a small dark bedroom into a centralised study/play area that leads on to a new kitchen and dining. In collaboration with Geometrica building design Megan and her team revised the layout and added a tiny 32m2 extension into which a new kitchen, walk-in pantry, bathroom, laundry and dining-room went. This area was opened up to a large outdoor deck and pergola to the north and made to feel wider and more expansive than it really was with a high pitched ceiling and a deep window seat running along the north side of the room.
The design softened potential bottle necks in the kitchen by using a curved floating bench clad in recycled hardwood. The kitchen joinery was custom made out of recycled messmate timbers, EO laminate and oiled in natural oils. In contrast to the labyrinth of rooms one previously had to walk through to get outside, the studio sought to place the outdoor spaces as the focus, so that the building and the garden are mutually beneficial to one another. Taking a holistic view of the living envrionment, landscaping was resolved concurrently with the building and interior design, and we used the renovation as an opportunity to resolve garden storage and neighbouring over-looking issues.
In a Brave new eco home- any established tree is considered an asset and we configured the interior layout so that the huge mature gum tree deep in the back yard is visible as soon as the front door is opened. The kitchen is visible from nearly everywhere in the house so we hid the work spaces behind an island bench return. A cold-store walk in pantry large enough for a workbench and the fridge to go in was designed and in order to keep this room cool, a long ventilation pipe was run through the length of the slab and opened to the cool under-house air (air drawn in is cooled by the slab). A sliding door shuts this area off from the rest of the kitchen when it is not in use and keeps the busy mess out of sight. Brave New Eco refurbished vintage copper pendant lights for the kitchen and handmade Manuka honey-coloured tiles add a touch of warmth.
A new living room was created and a gas space heater installed to zone the heating into the highly insulated extension. Recycled deco double doors were used in the lounge room so it could be closed off when watching TV and a new sliding door with beautiful fluted glass was used to separate the extension from the original house (that includes the bedrooms and primary bathroom.)
The main original house was separated from the extension for the purpose of space heating. The main bathroom was also renovated, made larger by extending into the hall space. Brave New Eco recycled the existing bathtub and chose a soft pewter finish for the tap-ware to avoid the use of chrome. Hand made fish-scale tiles were chosen for over the bath and an art deco drinks trolley was repurposed as a bathroom vanity.
Megan and her team established a long standing relationship with the client and are therefore still adding furnishings to this project over time and as they are ready. The studio have recovered vintage chairs and had linen curtains, lamps and cushions made with custom printed fabrics from Ink and Spindle. Seeking to find items that the clients connect to on a personal level – the team sourced a second-hand Jardan couch, a vintage blackbean sideboard and artwork from various Australian artists. It gives the studio such pleasure to see their clients feel a sense of belonging in; being expressed by; and feeling connected to the story of creating their home.
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