A Crisp Addition – House K by Kart Projects
Conceived as an extension to a weatherboard cottage in Melbourne’s north-east, House K emerges as an evolution of its previous form through a heightening of detail and craft. Kart Projects has carefully preserved the established landscaping by re-sculpting the overall footprint to maximise connection and to offer a sense of proportion and scale.
House K challenges our preconceived notions of a typically successful suburban addition. Surrounded by homes of a similar era, retaining the essence of the area was key in designing the extension. In respecting both the silhouette of the cottage and the established garden, the new aims to minimise the capture of additional land and instead create an efficient floor plan across one level. Removing a previous lean-to proved advantageous, allowing for more space on the relatively small block. And while the extension is modest in size, the introduction of the colour red adds an element of boldness that confidently carries and binds the home from front to back.
Built by Hemming and Nicoll Constructions with landscape build and planting by Vogue Grange, House K demonstrates a balanced emphasis on retaining existing features and creating others anew. Unlike similar projects of this typology, the architects refrained from going up, keeping the works on ground level and matching the original home’s proportions. Set back from the northern boundary, the rear extension emphasises light and scale through generous volumes, and the living area benefits from an abundance of natural light. Deliberately concealed elements are supported by joinery tucked into the architectural form, contributing to the overall sense of space. As a result, the home feels calm, uncluttered, and quietly restful.
In the extension, coffered ceilings reference the cellular plan of the existing weatherboard house by creating a series of loosely defined spaces above each ‘room’; they are not bound by physical walls, rather subtly suggested through the form. Further, ceiling heights have been increased in places, and the architects added a skylight into one of these ceiling voids, bringing natural light deep into the plan. A minimal palette of materials defines the interiority; some spaces are light and airy with plywood joinery and terrazzo. Contrastingly, intimate spaces have been made to feel darker and more encasing, creating compression and expansion as one moves through the house.