The approach taken for the Mash House is one which, despite first impressions, celebrates the backyard. Or perhaps less so the traditional notion of the backyard, and more so just plain, outdoor space. The original deep and dark, double-fronted Victorian house offered a plethora of challenges; not least of all, it’s lack of solar access. In predictable fashion, services had been attached to the rear of the dwelling over time, effectively dislocating the living areas from the backyard. A belt of space to the east of the dwelling laid bare where a driveway once existed. An old shed, stretching the width of site, sat idly to the rear. These elements combined, meant the overriding feel of the house was one of disconnection.
Instead of jamming further additions to the rear, a glass walkway pulled from the existing dwelling allows a distinct, spatial break between old and new. The residual space is framed as a courtyard, meaning the new living area has direct access to northern light and associated passive solar gain. In place of the old binary layout of external vs internal, the house is now articulated as three masses - the original dwelling, addition and garage, each punctuated by outside space. A blurred line exists not between old and new, but inside and out. The result is a collection of connected spaces, spoilt for light and air. With shiplap cladding curving under to the floor & over to the roof on the eastern & western sides of the addition, cladding to the northern & southern elevations & decking at floor level that curves up to the reveals & eaves lining of the openings, timber is used to create the solid appearance of an object set in the rear yard of the suburban home.
The specific selection of timber throughout the addition of Mash House was essential in order to respond to the client’s brief, which was to create an space that would be different without being pretentious in a tight budget. The external spotted gum cladding was selected because of its great structural and appearance qualities. This was a good decision in the way that it provides an envelope which is more natural, easy to maintain, durable and economical, the best of all is that it's locally produced therefore very easy to find. The frame of the dwelling was highly crafted to be a shape that would flow with the family's character; A variety use of timber types such as Klin dry hardwood and MGP seemed to be the best structural tools for such curvy shape.