Somewhere in Victoria, Australia, there’s a Victorian house that doesn’t exactly blend in. it’s called the Bower House and it occupies an area of 176 square meters. In 2013 the house was refurbished by Andrew Simpson Architects. As always, the studio was committed to the contemporary and responsive to the cultural and contextual surroundings of the house.
The studio is a design-focused practice, always celebrating form and space and seeking to use new technologies and methods of fabrication. For them, sustainability is fundamental to good design. This particular project was interesting in a lot of ways. First of all, the existing house has to be redesigned and that meant preserving some of the original features and incorporating lots of new ones.
In addition to the refurbishment of the existing house, the project also included an extension to the rear of the site. The two structures had to communicate and to form a whole but each also needed to have its own character and style. The Victorian terrace house suffered a big change but, throughout the transformation, it preserved its uniqueness and historical beauty.
The designers’ goal was, above all, to inscribe the owners’ experiences into the building itself. They wanted this way to provide a new context that suits their new family lifestyle. The house has to be suitable for the owners and their two kids and this meant that more space was needed, hence the new extension.
The new design is a harmonious dialogue between the historic fabric of the building and the newly built extension. The facades of the two structures share certain similarities but are also quite different. The extension has a sculptural look, featuring an asymmetrical shape and intriguing but also simple forms.
The interior is also defined by sculptural elements. The house is a nested set of containers. A large fiberglass pod is hanging above the kitchen and dining area. The pod was designed using a digital model and with custom 3D tiles and integrated lighting.
The rest of the interior features simple characteristics, being a good example of an inviting contemporary home. At the ground floor, large sliding glass doors and full-height windows connect the rear of the house to the backyard and the outdoor lounge area.
The openings on the upper level are smaller but strategically oriented to offer the best views and to capture natural light. A small home office overlooks the sculptural tiled pod. The original part of the residence has a rather different feel.
In here, the ambiance is warmer and a bit rustic. There are numerous architectural elements that have been preserved. The ceiling design is meant to impress, adding a dramatic touch to the décor as a whole. But all these traditional details are complemented by simple and modern accents such as furniture pieces, wall décor and accessories.
The result is a well-balanced and harmonious space that has been adapted for modern times and the owner’s particular lifestyle and personal preferences. The ornate accents are toned down by minimalist additions.