Kelly and Gavin’s home

Bellarine Peninsula

There are few properties that can enjoy rural land while still being close to the city. However, this property, only a 15-minute drive from Geelong’s CBD, offered that opportunity for a couple from New Zealand who have made Australia their home.

Originally built in the 1970s, this elongated cream brick home may have presented with little charm but with considerably impressive views over rolling hills. This sprawling 4-bedroom house also came with a sizeable, elevated plot of over 20,000 square metres (partially once used as a limestone quarry).

While the house ticked many of the boxes in terms of space, many areas were poorly located within it, including a main bedroom without an ensuite and living areas that offered pokey windows to the north and the rolling hills. The dining and living areas were also segmented, together with a formal entrance that was rarely if ever, used. So, RUBI Architects will be reworking this floorplan and bringing together the kitchen, dining and living areas to create more fluid spaces. The entire northern elevation will also be reworked with generous glazing and strategically placed built-in window seats. And while the home office was previously enclosed, this will be redesigned with generous glazing that connects to the new swimming pool and spa. An internal garden also forms part of the scheme, a feature that is one of the hallmarks of RUBI Architects. What was formerly the kitchen, located to the south of the house, will be transformed into a laundry/mudroom, while the new kitchen will be relocated to the north to benefit from the light and views.

RUBI Architects will be retaining the original cream bricks (too many to attempt to conceal) but softening these with a new timber pergola that will wrap around the home and diffuse the harsher sunlight. And although the pitched rooflines will remain, the internal treatments, such as new timber trusses and timber-lined ceilings in the living areas, will add texture to the design.

What may have appeared as a relatively ‘severe’ house will be transformed into a fine and contemporary rural home for a couple who enjoy entertaining friends and family – including the reworking of a detached fifth bedroom and new ensuite to allow those traveling from New Zealand to stay.

For the architects, it wasn’t just making something special from something ordinary but, as importantly, seeing how the existing home is used – including the way the owners arrive and use a side entrance. Hence a new carport will be established nearby.

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