photography: Shannon McGrath

THE LAYER HOUSE                                                                                                                                                                                                                    year: 2012 - 2015                                                                                                                                                                                                                        stage: completion

The Layer House is a reconfiguration and renovation of a Victorian weatherboard house in Malvern that has been previously extended in the nineteen-eighties and again in the nineteen-nineties. The new insertions were conceived as being the latest layer in a quasi-archaeological process of accretion and change to the original house. As such a contemporary palette of materials and finishes has been used to mark the new: existing alongside and in contrast to both the original features and the remnant finishes from previous extensions and interventions.

The brief centred on improving the spatial and environmental performance of the house within the existing footprint as well as generally upgrading the finishes throughout the ground floor, with a rigorous attention to the environmental and health implications of product and material specifications. The key interventions included inserting a new En Suite bathroom and walk in robe connected to the master bedroom; replacing the kitchen; and, replacing a central bathroom and powder room with a new bathroom wrapped around a study nook that opens off the main circulation spine. The new bathroom consists of a series of separate but connected spaces for the toilet, bath and vanity which can be closed off or connected in different combinations as required, with a series of cavity sliding doors. Similarly, the study nook can be closed off with a set of bi-folding screen doors, perforated with a pattern of openings that are backlit when closed with abundant natural light from a pre-existing skylight.