Northcote Studio




Northcote, VIC

Traditional Owners

Wurundjeri Country




Luke Ray

Upon purchasing the property at the end of 2020, the clients knew they would need undertake a substantial renovation at some point. With consultation with the architect, it was decided that a staged approach would be most suitable in order to get them into the property sooner. Stage 1 involved replacing the kitchen and bathroom completely and adding skylights to the bathroom and living rooms to improve natural light. This was a substantial improvement to the internal amenity of the property, while avoiding the timely processes involved with an extension. During these renovations, in the midst of the Melbourne lockdowns, it became apparent that an additional workspace would be required. As a single car family and given the awkwardly narrow driveway, the existing garage in the backyard was quite redundant as vehicle storage, so it was decided that Stage 2 would involve retrofitting it into studio suitable for working from home for extended periods of time. This was able to be commenced after the clients moved into the main house, with minimal disruption to the family since the structure was fully detached. The studio also needed to be able to accommodate short stay visitors (post-covid), as the family had grown into the main house, so a murphy bed was integrated into the joinery.

The existing garage roller door and small window were replaced with high-performance double-glazed timber framed glazing by Binq, significantly improving the natural light in the space and connecting the room to the garden. The window is surrounded by an internal bench seat integrated into the joinery, while externally a bench seat of timber decking and a steel awning provides a space to enjoy and transform the garden into an entertaining space. A small bike and garden store was included at the rear of the garage, with modular customisable wall storage to use the space most efficiently.

The existing concrete slab and masonry walls provide good thermal mass to the garage, with the addition of new wall and roof insulation. Combined with the new openable sliding door and window, the space remains comfortable in the warmer months. A small electric heater provides enough heating in the cooler months, which runs off the existing solar PV system during the day.