click or scroll to view project

Cecil Street Extension, Fitzroy

A clever response to a small site – accommodating a contemporary and complex household not by adding floorspace, but by providing new amenity and flexibility.

  • Client Brief

    The project challenge – more house, but with less building. Within an already dense, inner-city terrace site the client requested: a courtyard, garden, carpark and a house. A house that could be her home, workplace and have the flexibility to accommodate her adult children.

    Design Response

    This project’s design accommodates this contemporary and complex household – not by adding floorspace – but by providing new amenity and flexibility. The way we renewed this dwelling was by creating new kinds of spaces within the existing home – providing variety rather than an adding area.

    Our design accommodated this contemporary and complex household not by adding floorspace – but by providing new amenity and flexibility. The dwelling was renewed by creating new kinds of spaces within the existing home – a provision of variety rather than an addition of area. This way the house could be expanded while its site coverage was reduced.

    The kitchen was renovated and a flexible study/bedroom room was built at the rear of the house, within the volume of an existing stable. Two bathrooms were added, one at the front and a smaller one at the rear that serviced the flexible room. This allowed the room to operate independently from the rest of the house. With a street front and a rear laneway, the house could be accessed from either end, meeting at a central kitchen/dining area – the house’s hub.

    The largest addition overall was the courtyard. It provided a garden, service area and entertaining spaces. The garden iss characterised by the materiality of the dwelling’s history. The remains of the demolished buildings are retained rather than repaired and erased.

    Though designed for a particular context and client, this project offers a way of thinking about density through the design of a small but flexible house. Together, the reconfigurations of the existing house, the courtyard to garden/entertainment area and the flexible study/guest room, provided all the places to fit the bits, pieces and people of her life.

  • Cecil House Characteristics

    Key values

    • Varied spaces, arranged for flexibility
    • A house for one person or many people
    • Surfaces of demolished structures retained not erased
    • Indoor/outdoor connection from new and existing spaces

    Key materials

    • Fielders Galvanised Super Six Profile Metal Roofing and Cladding
    • Cedar Double Glazed Windows
    • Sydney Blue Gum Flooring and
    • Briggs Sustainable Joinery Veneers in Sydney Blue Gum and Hoop Pine
    • Victorian Ash Kitchen Benchtop
  • Cecil House Specifications

    Core deliverables

      • Guest bedroom / Study
      • Kitchen and dining
      • Bathrooms

    x 2

    • Garage
    • Courtyard
    • Walk-in-wardrobe (WIR) to existing bedroom

    Services provided

    • Concept design
    • Resource consent documentation
    • Contract documentation and building consent
    • Contract administration


    Antarctica(with Simon Whibley as co-director)


    Project Director: Simon Whibley
    Project Team: Simon Whibley, Nicola Garrod, Ben Inman,


    Belinda Probert

    Date completed


    Location and area

    Fitzroy, Victoria

    46m² addition, 168m² overall alterations and additions (original house 142 m²)

  • Cecil House Media


    • ReHousing – 24 Housing Projects, Melbourne 2009
  • Cecil House Testimonials

    “I often sit in the house and marvel at what was done with it. The spaces were so thoughtfully put together and wonderfully connected to the new courtyard. It simply fits so well with the way I live, both inside and outside.”

    Belinda Probert

  • Cecil Downloads

    Cecil Information PDF

Related projects

Acheson Place, Coburg North

This project revolves around the simple but transformative act of cutting a hole in the middle of a large existing volume.

View project

Fawkner Street House, South Yarra

Explores delicate control of circulation in curating series of visual thresholds that interact and entice occupants to transverse within spaces.

View project

The Seymour Apartments, Armadale

With eleven apartments, a generous retail space and car-stacker, rigorous planning has facilitated modest sized apartments with exceptional amenity.

View project

Mirror Shed, Elwood

Housing bins, bikes, garden supplies and an air conditioning unit, this mirror clad shed visually dissolves, whilst intriguing and confounding the viewer from the street.

View project

Gold St Renovation

A simple spatial concept unites four different uses of one small room; a cupboard, a passage, a laundry, a bathroom.

View project

Diagonal House, North Fitzroy

Innovative add-on opens like a fan towards sun drenched north-facing rear courtyard.

View project

Art House, Richmond

A house / gallery defined by a curated circulation path past an extensive collection of books, artworks and artefacts, punctuated by iconic neighbourhood views.

View project

Bryant Street House, Flemington

Reflecting our client’s fascination with Japanese culture, this house brings authenticity to a Japanese sensibility whilst acknowledging its Australian inner suburban context.

View project

Community Care Home

A residential care facility a range of disenfranchised and vulnerable people.

View project