Cuckoo House

Once the site of a weatherboard Edwardian, Rara Architecture designed this Melbourne home to embody the essence and characteristics of the original dwelling while remaining fit for contemporary living.

  • area / size 1,163 sqft
  • Year 2019
  • Location Melbourne, Australia,
  • Type House,
  • Cuckoo House is a new home completed in July 2019. Cuckoo is located in Melbourne’s inner-city suburb of Footscray on a 230sqm block.

    The original site housed a weatherboard Edwardian with a front verandah, common to the street, so the proposed design had to respect the character without imitating too closely.

    The whole dwelling is a grand total of 108sqm. We wanted to bring light into the dwelling and to introduce the feeling of spaciousness. Thankfully, we were able to convince the client to allow us to ‘spend a little extra’ on a soaring raked ceiling in the living space. We justified this by placing a small mezzanine above the laundry in this spot. Also, we had to be very strategic in our spatial layout by minimising traffic paths, as well as any unnecessary rooms.

    We originally approached the brief with the intent to retain the existing front Edwardian section, and proposing a rear extension. the front section still needed major renovations and reconfiguration. by the time we reached tender, builders informed us it would be simpler for them to demolish and rebuild the whole dwelling… even if they were to rebuild the Edwardian dwelling exactly as it is. both Council and we were not happy with this solution. Rara approached Council to propose a modern interpretation of an Edwardian that respected neighbourhood character without looking like a mock-Edwardian. The Council planner was initially apprehensive that we would be able to execute this well, but agreed to give me a chance to present an idea. Likewise, the client was disappointed to lose the charm that came packaged with their delightful Edwardian house. The design also had to hit them in the right spot. after circulating the concept, we received raving reviews from both the client and Council.

    Design: Rara Architecture
    Photography: Nicole England