Elwood House

A care­ful­ly craft­ed ren­o­va­tion of a much-trea­sured Cal­i­forn­ian Bun­ga­low, the Elwood House focus­es on enhanc­ing the orig­i­nal char­ac­ter of the struc­ture and enrich­ing the expe­ri­ences in the house. Draw­ing on the owner’s diverse range of per­son­al objects, inter­ests, places of trav­el, this home is rich in both nar­ra­tive and texture.

This home is not about grand state­ments. Main­tain­ing the major­i­ty of the orig­i­nal house, the plan is sim­ple and tra­di­tion­al, with a char­ac­ter­is­tic side entry, cen­tral hall­way and adjoin­ing small rooms. In line with the stan­dard bun­ga­low palate, the new inte­ri­or uses the dark local tim­bers off­set against stuc­co and hard plas­ter, in new ways to cre­ate tex­ture, and play of light. Trans­form­ing through­out the day, the design nur­tures a qui­et sanc­tu­ary to reflect on the pas­sage of time. Draw­ing on the inspi­ra­tions for Bun­ga­low archi­tec­ture, the redesign also builds on a rus­tic Japan­ese ver­nac­u­lar to cre­ate an ele­gant, yet unpre­ten­tious liv­ing space. The inte­gra­tion the client’s eclec­tic col­lec­tion, forms a deeply per­son­al con­nec­tion between form and more mean­ing­ful function.

It is not about open plan. Retain­ing a cosy cot­tage feel, the mod­est addi­tion focus­es on inti­ma­cy and con­nec­tion to the gar­den. The client works from home so the spaces need to be flex­i­ble but also to pro­vide a vari­ety of expe­ri­ences with­in one dwelling. Each space is small with inde­pen­dent func­tions, cus­tom-made for one, but capa­ble of expand­ing for gath­er­ings. The result is a pri­vate retreat. It’s relax­ing, warm, safe and unassuming. 

The house can­not be sep­a­rat­ed from the land­scape that grounds it. From the entry, the gar­den pro­vides a desir­able sense of pri­va­cy and helps refresh the tra­di­tion­al archi­tec­ture. At var­i­ous moments through the pro­gram, the gar­dens are framed to cre­at­ed con­tin­u­ous con­nec­tions to the exte­ri­or. At the rear, new open­ings and glaz­ing link these spaces and care­ful­ly frame views of the nat­u­ral­is­tic land­scape beyond. The sub­stan­tial gar­den at the back it’s the ulti­mate retreat with a mod­est pool and stun­ning plantings.

Intrin­si­cal­ly a respect­ed bun­ga­low house, the Elwood House is a mod­ernised liv­ing envi­ron­ment where the client’s mem­o­ries and achieve­ments are cel­e­brat­ed, while pro­vid­ing serene moments for reflection.

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