Project: Elwood Residence

“Complete with double-storey glazing and modest and understated colours and materials palette, the living and outdoor spaces offers an abundant amount of space to not only entertain but to come home relax and unwind. The end result, an immensely private, inviting and light-filled alluring space.”

Winner Residential Best Small Lot

  • A timeless outcome which preserves its Victorian era legacy and breathes new life into the home 
  • Polished concrete in conjunction with the two-storey double glazed windows utilises passive thermal techniques to warm and cool the home 
  • 2-storey glazing separates the living from the courtyard and guides light into the new internal areas

Successfully linking past and present, the Elwood Residence’s timeless façade conceals an innovative and contemporary extension that brings the home into the 21st century through a combination of concrete, steel and glass.

Designed by Drake Design, Elwood Residence’s narrow site in one of Melbourne’s inner-city suburbs was maximised to create significant internal space for a growing family, including the introduction of an internal courtyard to bring natural light into the new areas.

When purchased, the existing building at the Elwood site was a small run-down Victorian style house in a desperate need of attention, revive and transformation. A tired facade was the frontage that led to two bedrooms and just a small living and kitchen area, that simply didn’t satisfy the needs of the client. They envisaged a design that could see their family grow and spread, and not be hampered by the compact size of inner city living, all the while restoring Elwood Residence to its status of classic grandeur at the front and adding a striking contemporary design to the back.

The Elwood Residence site is positioned in a north-south direction on a tree-lined street near the bustling Elwood Village. It is located moments away from shopping boutiques, cafés and eateries, prestigious schools and in close proximity to beaches, parks and recreational spaces. From the front the site is situated between single-storey and double-storey residential dwellings and to the back has secondary access via the additional rear lane ROW.

Maximising the footprint on the site for a two-storey dwelling not only on a boundary but on a deep allotment while trying to direct desired northern light deep within the home’s footprint was always going to prove a challenge. However, strategic design and analysis was utilised to find an effective and successful solution.

Entering the home gives way to a long hallway where soaring ceiling and hardwood floors lead to reconditioned bedrooms and bathrooms down to a new kitchen/living/dining at the core of the ground floor level.

From here, towering glass doors extend the living outdoors to a sundrenched courtyard. The courtyard creates an immensely private space for the family that reasons a sense of seclusion from the outside bustling world just steps away from the home’s front door.

A steel stringer staircase leads to the upper floor, where the third bedroom/multipurpose room, study area and master bedroom with ensuite are located.

The Elwood Residence’s footprint has been almost entirely maximised to produce great internal spaces. By recessing the dining and kitchen footprint ever so slightly the provision for a courtyard was allowed. The selection of 2-storey glazing to separate the living from the courtyard, then guided the abundant light far into the space, penetrating the entirety of the new internal areas. The first-floor void allowed for further light to infiltrate the home from the skylight to below.

The built form of the home’s frontage has been entirely unchanged and undisturbed by the contemporary addition, while the tired Victorian façade has been completely re-established, continually paying homage to the era. The contemporary extension completely contradicts what came before, while being unimposing and recessive from the street view but striking from all other aspects.

In a time of rising energy costs, the selection of polished concrete for the flooring material of the ground floor in conjunction with the two-storey double glazed windows utilises passive thermal techniques to warm and cool the home. Thus, saving future heating and cooling costs for the inhabitants as well as promoting easily maintainable and sustainable design. Using recycled materials and existing walls such as the adjacent brick structure as a feature for the courtyard, also saved on additional material and construction costs and helped to link the existing with the new in a successful way.

The addition of the upstairs area provided more than ample space to allow the family to live and grow for many years to come.


Designer:                              Drake Design     drakedesign.com.au

Builder:                                 Liefting & Merlo Homes

Energy Rater:                     Northern Environmental Design

Structural Engineer:       JT Consulting Engineers

Building Surveyor:          All Australian Building Permits

Soil Testing:                       Hardrock Geotechnical

Photographer:                  Impress Photography Pty Ltd



Elwood residence is designed to completely maximise the sites footprint and quite literally push the design to the site’s boundaries, creating light filled inviting spaces and a sense of seclusion from the bustling world just steps away from the home’s front door.
Drake Design - Elwood Residence