The Empty Nester

Our clients, who felt overwhelmed in their large Victorian home where they raised their children, were the focus of this project exploring urban consolidation. They were empty-nesters eager to downsize, eliminate debt, and prepare for future challenges associated with the aging process. Utilizing the generous garden area associated with their current home was the preferred way forward. The lengthy process began with their decision.

The design drew inspiration from the immediate streetscape in terms of building lines and materials, while working within the tight planning constraints of inner-city Richmond. Window placement was carefully considered to avoid overlooking neighboring properties, providing occupants with framed views of the neighborhood. The kitchen overlooks the streetscape, the upper level offers views of the MCG and city, and the main living area provides a private garden view. The cozy living room, slightly lower than the rear garden, features a suspended fireplace and direct connection with the established vegetation. The materiality was inspired by the client’s love for locally sourced autumnal bricks, resulting in a palette with natural tones and textures that exude a sense of age and earthiness.

A commitment to creating a home with a high level of amenity led to the inclusion of a shared car stacker discreetly situated between the old and new premises. Additionally, a small domestic lift ensures easy circulation between the three levels. This project boldly embraces the challenges posed by population growth and urban sprawl while serving as an exemplar of inner-city rebirth.