Californian-style bungalow turns creative retreat in Melbourne suburb

Californian-style bungalow turns creative retreat in Melbourne suburb

An introverted retreat in Elwood, Australia, inspired by a Californian-style bungalow, has been lovingly restored by architecture studio Splinter Society to capture and preserve its original charm.

It’s owner, a creative person and a collector of objects from around the world, wanted a rustic hideaway from which to work from home, and occasionally open up for gatherings of friends.

Splinter Society Elwood house
Photography: Jack Lovel 

The snug, unpretentious feeling of the existing cottage has been embraced by the architects. The house’s plan, with its side entrance with central corridor and small rooms opening up off it, has been maintained and recrafted with dark timber with Japanese vernacular design in mind.

A minimal aesthetic inside the rooms – concrete floors and whitewashed walls – is offset by custom designed storage that opens up nooks and niches for books to create personal narrative and plenty of texture. The rooms are independent, yet flexible in function and able to open up to expand into the outdoor space.

The ultimate escape from the world, the house is buried in a garden bursting with green plants. Any modest additions to the bungalow focus on creating more intimacy between the house and the outdoor space – a modest sized swimming pool in the backyard. Splinter Society, led by directors Asha Nicholas and Chris Stanley, likes to add some unexpected experiences into every design. §

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