The Doll’s House in Melbourne

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Thursday, July 25th, 2013
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The Doll’s House, a recently completed renovation of a worker’s cottage in Fitzroy, shows that space need not always hamper creativity.

A renovation of the smallest house on its street, the Doll’s House was designed by Australian studio Edwards Moore.

Edwards Moore’s main objective in this renewal was to simplify the layout, maximizing space use and bringing natural sunlight to the interiors. The studio divided the four-by-23 metre space into three main rooms – a living room/studio, kitchen area and bedroom– which are separated yet connected by small courtyards in between.

Dollhouse Kitchen

The kitchen is in the central space connected to the bedroom and living room trough the two small courtyards.

An extension at the back of the existing house features a large bedroom, while the kitchen and dining room occupy the central space and the living room/studio is at the front. All the rooms receive plenty of sunlight thanks to the two strategically oriented courtyards on the northern edge of the site.

While retaining the existing street frontage, inside the building, peeling plasterwork exposes the house’s original old brick walls, which look like unfinished walls where architects built plywood bookshelves and worktops. In addition, mirrored golden panels were added to a selection of surfaces to make the interior space appear larger and to reflect the light.

The original fireplace, pale wooden floors and a sculptural pendant lamp, together with the three headless ceramic dogs in the living room as well as two wooden dinosaurs, the replica of a skull and a ladder leading up to an original loft are among the interior design components that define the unique character of this house.

Dollhouse Bedroom

Left – The interior courtyard. Right – The bedroom, located in the addition built at the back.

“Echoes of the home’s history are reflected in discreetly choreographed gold panels located throughout the space. An abundance of natural light refracting off the all-white interiors creates a sense of the ethereal, an otherworldly environment hidden amongst the urban grain,” architect Ben Edwards said. “We left fragments of the building as a visual memory of the existing worker’s cottage.”

The Doll’s House prioritizes design over size, applying new ideas to make a better use of the existing space, creating dual purpose features and multi-functional furniture.

Dollhouse House Model

Model of the house created by Edwards Moore

Compared to larger homes that are more costly in terms of building, taxes, heating, maintenance and repair, small houses like this one may encourage a less cluttered and complicated life and reduced ecological impact for their residents.

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