Madeline and Nick's Brief for their home

Experiences in the home

I travelled to Melbourne to visit Madeline and Nick for a workshop to explore their relationship to home and their environment and what different types of experiences they would like to create. Below is a workshop record of their results. You will get the most out of this record if you have to opportunity for Madeline and Nick to present it to you and explain their responses in more depth. To future members of Madeline and Nick's project team we would welcome the opportunity to talk you through the process and theory behind how we host this to give you more insight into their answers. (contact

Below is a slideshow of their brief of experiences and rituals for the home and you may like to download a copy

A map

20 Henderson Street, Northcote in Melbourne


Your notes to us prior to the workshop

Things to know

  • Block size: 350m2
  • Spend: $300,000 limit
  • Our back yard faces east
  • On our northern side there is an Edwardian house (identical to ours) with a second story on the back half of the house. Not great for direct winter sunlight.
  • All windows of this adjacent house are frosted/utility windows, bar one, which is opposite the smaller of our bedrooms on the northern side (currently my study)
  • From the existing plan above, we have since knocked down the tandem garage, and have a 3x6m2 shed in the north eastern corner of the garden.
  • There is currently approx. 5 metres from the back of our house to the front of the shed (see pics of yard attached)

Architectural features we like/feel could be appropriate

  • Brick as a material, either natural (recycled), or painted
  • Brick paving
  • Brick walls
  • Orient kitchen to the north, with open courtyard?
  • VJ timber cladding as a feature in kitchen/living area
  • Laundry off kitchen? (Laundry combine with butler’s pantry?)
  • Utilities: laundry, en suite, on southern boundary? (where current bath/toilet is). Smallish courtyard here for clothes line?
  • Floorboards vs polished concrete. Pros/cons of each? Existing floorboards in front of house are Baltic pine
  • Caesarstone/stainless steel bench top
  • Bookshelves
  • Fireplace
  • Floating shelf along fireplace
  • Window seat
  • Outdoor brick Barbie (gathering place). Nice cooking on coals all the time at the moment – keen for this to be our main barbie
  • Native garden
  • Two outdoor zones — northern courtyard outside kitchen and then green backyard/table/lawn
  • natural light
  • Bike storage racks/shed — perhaps where front of driveway is
  • Outlook to the shed - positives and negatives. Attractive to look at, but a large dark shape nonetheless.
  • Palette: timber, brick (painted, natural), greenery, tiles? Palette to come thru materials
  • Consider how we use media/downtime. Use the iPad a lot, laptops. TV more for kids than Nick and I (we watch view, Netflix etc, more flexible about where)
  • Island bench, or feature/large dining table instead (like Vokes + Peters West End Cottage, for example)?
  • Louvre Windows — in kitchen, bathroom
  • We want to utilise is the space in the redundant driveway down the northern boundary of our house — hence talk of courtyards/building out to the boundary on that side. From memory I think it is about 2 — 2.5m wide. Currently it’s dead space, apart from one car space in the front.

Things that are important to our family

  • Cooking, meal times. Don't want a tv near the dining table 
  • A space for Nick and I to talk (i.e. escape from the boys!)
  • Natural light
  • Green aspect — outdoors 
  • Functionality to the backyard (not just pretty): vegetables, seating, place for boys to play and have ownership over (cubby etc)
  • A study important. Doesn’t need to be the size of a bedroom, but needs to be enclosed
  • Storage (linen, filing, kids toys)
  • Utilizing wall space: hooks, shelves, pigeon holes, hanging pots?
  • Courtyard — again, outdoor aspect visible/accessible from indoors
  • Music
  • A second bathroom/toilet would be nice – whether that is an ensuite (preference) or powder room, depending on layout/budget

Things that aren't important

  • Fancy bathroom
  • Big bedrooms
  • Joinery in kids' rooms
  • Tricky tiling, feature lighting etc

Architects we like


Madeline's Pinterest*

Click the image below to go through to pinterest. *Madeline's boards are private, so please ask her for access prior to viewing.

Our initial very sketchy sketch, soon to be replaced by a plan..

Existing plan

 Neater (but still sketchy version of the sketch)

Neater (but still sketchy version of the sketch)