Eva, is a single mum and business owner who possessed special determination to build a home for herself and her daughter. Eva wanted a long-term home that would also house her business and provide rental income through an incorporated ground floor granny flat. And all on a site not much larger than a two-bedroom apartment.

The East Brunswick site was formerly the rear garden of the adjoining property and measures just eight metres wide by 11 metres deep. Site size was not the only limitation of the site; a power pole in the middle located on the very narrow footpath further constrained the buildable envelope. However, the site’s location within a designated activity zone made it possible to propose greater than usual site coverage and a three storey design while still meeting the overlooking and overshadowing requirements of the planning code.

The width to height of the building and minimal glazing to the street which is the south side of the home provided an interesting counterpoint to its overall scale. It was possible for the building to appear institutional in character and materiality without over-scaling its context or feeling out of place. The concrete clock base is topped by a double storey volume that is both wall and roof, the overall volume of which has been carved out to adhere to the clearance requirements of the transformers mounted on the adjacent power pole.

Wherever possible, to maximise the use of site and space, each space and built element serves multiple functions. The entry is designed to fulfil three functions: street level office for Eva’s business, access to the ground floor granny flat and front door to the home. Once through the front door the highly glazed foyer is also Eva’s business location with an additional desk space for her daughter. It also contains a powder room for guest use. A poured-in-place concrete block grounds the stair to the upper levels and secures the corner transition from pavement to covered walkway.  The first floor is an open kitchen, dining and living space that is split over two levels to create separation and character to the respective spaces. The split between dining and living is a seat height creating space efficient seating and additional storage within the change of level. Large north facing openings and carefully curated southern glazing means the space has abundant natural lighting at all times of the day. There is also a generous north facing terrace with space for BBQ, craft table with sink and an outdoor screen for watching movies outside.

The bedrooms upstairs also have north facing windows and rooftop views over the surrounding homes and warehouses, a uniquely Brunswick outlook. They also have a surprising amount of storage as they make use of the sloping roof space facing the street to utilise for closet space. The upstairs bathroom is one of the most fun spaces in a house packed full of surprises: what may at first appear to be a standard sink, shower to bath arrangement reveals that the window to outside actually sits between shower and tub meaning that baths are taken outdoors in a ‘bath balcony,’ a touch of Japanese bathing ritual.

Built Resicon

Photos Dave Kulesza

Styling Bea and Co


“MRTN took our big dream and made it realistic in terms of both the budget and the physical space. The site at 88m2 is tiny but MRTN designed it to suit us perfectly.”



2022 Houses Awards
Shortlist in the New House Under 200m2 category


Houses Magazine
Issue 144
'House for Eva and Matilda'
Words by Stuart Harrison

Read more.

Houses Magazine #144
Meet the Owners
Eva and Matilda

Our Houses - A conversation between architects and their clients
Design Speaks
March 202

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