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COS Design：The clients wanted a contemporary rear entertaining space which flowed directly off the rear of the home. However, they also wanted to respect the heritage of the front’s early 1900’s terrace building. Levels were a concern as the rear floor level was well elevated above the lower courtyard and the current steps allowed no clean connection or flow from inside to out. They also consumed a lot of space in what was an already small area. A vehicle car space was also a must as off-street parking was an occasional necessity and good for resale. The courtyard faces South, so was a little dark – however, the Western sun during summer in the late afternoon was quite intense, so shade was also required.
Being an inner-city terrace, decent storage was also high on the list as the home offered very little. The clients have a young family and therefore safety and a play space were also on the list. They love to entertain and so an alfresco dining area was a must. There were many considerations to account for and not a lot of space to work within. A low maintenance outdoor space was also a key request. The existing Star Jasmine hedge on the eastern fence line was the only item that needed to stay, the rest was an open slate for us to create solutions for all of the above.
Creating a seamless flow was the first priority for the design so the consideration to build a deck at the internal floor level was the obvious solution. This created some height issues for the lower courtyard, but clean simple return steps were created as to not overpower the space like the previous steps did. A built-in concrete bench seat was also created, which used the new planter box as its backrest. A portable fire bowl was also supplied to give flexibility to the space. The little raised planter of Gardenias was designed as a backrest but also as a stop point to draw people to the west and to the raised alfresco zone. A cantilevered arbor provides shade on a super-hot late afternoon but also allows natural light to not be affected for all other times. It also creates a nice sense of intimacy to the space. A built-in return deck seat forces the dining table to be against the wall allowing enough space for the lose chairs and a repeated planter creates another stop point for the deck which provides a safety component. A floating compact BBQ finished off the outdoor dining experience.
The feature red brick walls embrace the heritage of the original terrace which remains today. The modern rear extension sets the tone for the contemporary feel of the courtyard. The red brick wall has another function and that is to hide the large custom-built storage shed where internal items can be stored, as well as bikes, garden tools and camping gear. The Portofino render was another consideration when respecting the heritage of the home, an example of old school rendering in a contemporary application.
Plantings were pretty simple, the fragrance and hedging options of the Gardenia Aimee Yoshiba along with Asparagus ferns to the base of the existing Star Jasmine fence screening was enough to softer the hard edges of the space. Creating a car space, a large shed, level management and an alfresco space really didn’t leave a lot of room for green, but it did meet the low maintenance side of the brief. Extensive lighting was also introduced to ensure many lazy summer evenings can be spent in the courtyard with family and friends.
All in all, we have created a highly functional, clean open space which delivers the brief with class sophistication and a timeless look which the clients absolutely love.