Wellard Architects introduce a contemporary rear addition to a 1920s Californian Bungalow in Malvern East, promoting connection with the outdoors for cooking, eating and entertaining.

Wellard Architects have brought their relaxed, modern Australian aesthetic to a century-old Californian Bungalow in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern East. Like their Brighton Garden House, this renewed family home sees the considered rework of its existing heritage footprint with a modern extension at the rear of the home. Through innovative spatial planning and a cohesive colour palette, the new home celebrates relaxed indoor-outdoor living. 

In this feature, Wellard Architects interior designer Harriet Collins reflects on how the team paid homage to the home’s history through timeless, hardworking materials and appliances designed to withstand family life.

Produced in partnership with Gaggenau

The homeowners were familiar with the opportunities, quirks and constraints of the site, having lived in the home for several years before Wellard Architects’ intervention. As with Californian Bungalows of the same era, the original floorplan failed to make use of the garden and consisted of pokey, segregated rooms with a lack of flow. Harriet says a key aspect to the brief was the client’s ever-growing collection of French art that saw the need to introduce extensive, uninterrupted wall space to exhibit their pieces. “It was important the design solution reflected their creative personalities, but also their desire to honour their home’s 100-year past,” Harriet explains. 

Wellard Architects retained the framework from the existing central hallway, transforming it into a courtyard-like corridor with an immediate visual link to the new garden and Spanish-bricked extension. This light-filled corridor represents the transition from old to new through subtle encaustic tiles and a drop-down step into the most used area of the home. The built-in window seat utilises an unused portion of the hallway, offering a spot to sit and relax away from the bustle of the open-plan living space.

A 1965 Raymond Savignac poster is the focal point in the living space, informing the simple, uncomplicated material palette in the home; blackbutt timber, cement, black steel and grey stone. “Durable and hard-wearing materials are crucial in a family home,” Harriet says. “Low-maintenance and robust materials were selected with longevity in mind, but also provide a coherent backdrop to our clients striking artwork,” she adds.

The kitchen overlooks the new pool by 5 Forty Constructions, built-in barbecue and sheltered outdoor dining and entertaining area. This space reflects the home’s unpretentious material palette with full-height blackbutt timber joinery, black tapware, Anthracite appliances and a striking slab of grey stone.

“The Gaggenau 200 series in Anthracite offered a sleek aesthetic which met the brief perfectly.”


– Wellard Architects interior designer Harriet Collins

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The light-filled central corridor connects the original home to the extension, representing the transition from old and new through subtle encaustic tiles.

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When it came to client expectations in the kitchen, the two most important factors were cooking flexibility and appliances that would stand the test of time. Harriet Collins says where integration wasn’t possible, it was essential the appliances sat well within the kitchen and living space as a whole. “The aesthetic of the appliances is paramount in a kitchen where it is part of a larger living zone and visible from so many spaces within the home,” Harriet explains.

Wellard Architects specified the Gaggenau 200 series oven, combi-steam oven and the warming drawer in the colour Anthracite for the brand’s flush installation, streamlined appearance and superior cooking capabilities – essential for a busy family home. “When clients are designing their forever home, it’s so important the appliances are trustworthy and performance-driven,” Harriet says. “The Gaggenau 200 series appliances in Anthracite offered a sleek aesthetic which met the brief perfectly.”

Located at the front of the home in the original shell of the bungalow, the bedrooms and study were modernised, with new profiled wood panelling in a deep aniseed colouring, once again tying into the consistent colour scheme. The bathrooms see a similar interplay of light and dark, warmed with subtle timber accents.

The Malvern East home balances heritage charm with tried and tested functionality. Wellard Architects have unanimously brought together two eras of architecture as one, where they’ve considered every design detail. 

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