A Sunny Transformation Of A California Bungalow With A Lush Central Courtyard

A two-year renovation saw this tired and dark California bungalow transformed into a modern dwelling filled with an abundance of natural light — all thanks to a central courtyard.

Situated on a leafy street in Brunswick, the original weatherboard house was completely gutted to allow for an extensive makeover by the team at Bryant Alsop Architects. But it was no easy feat.

The project called for the south-facing property to be re-oriented, turning the house back on itself to embrace the rear northern light.

‘By extending the property to the rear, we not only achieved a northern aspect but also created a focal central courtyard and a smaller decked area for entertaining, offering enjoyable outdoor spaces accessible from both the original section of the house and the new extension,’ Bryant Alsop director Sarah Bryant explains.

The framework of the two front bedrooms remained, while the original living room, kitchen and bathroom were completely reconfigured, allowing space for an ensuite and walk-in wardrobe off the main bedroom, plus a new third bedroom overlooking the courtyard.

A central breezeway now runs alongside the circular courtyard garden on one side. On the other, a breezy deck area and second lounge room now stand where the original laundry once was.

“[The] breezeway connects the old and new in the house, flooding the home with natural light, views and greenery,” says Sarah.

Cathedral ceilings in the open-plan living, kitchen and dining area elevate the space without taking away from the cosiness created by warm, earthy tones – a result of Bryant Alsop’s focus on timber in tandem with elegant interiors by R&Co. Design Studio.

A minimalist and contemporary feel is also enhanced by the use of pale stone in the kitchen, where a curved island bench is the centrepiece.

‘The successful blending of existing heritage details with contemporary style has created a seamless and harmonious balance between the old and new, with the use of timber and a textured neutral palette throughout adding warmth and timeless character,’ Sarah adds. ‘Clever spatial planning and the integration of the central courtyard garden in this project was central to its success.’

Given the airy, light-filled result of the renovation, it’s hard to imagine the dark home that once occupied the property — a true testament to the value of northern light.

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