News Home & Design Small Home Renovation Includes Ingenious Indoor-Outdoor Kitchen Maintaining the home's existing footprint while also reconfiguring the layout was a challenge. By Kimberley Mok Kimberley Mok Twitter Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007. Learn about our editorial process Published January 18, 2023 01:21PM EST Share Twitter Pinterest Email Bresic Whitney News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive It used to be widely believed that it was better for the environment to construct new buildings with up-to-date materials and the latest energy-efficient systems. But that belief has shifted in the last several years, with a growing consensus that actually the best way to go (whenever possible) is to conserve and reuse as many existing buildings as possible because one has to take into account all the embodied (or upfront) carbon emissions that come with building something new from scratch. In any case, many cities all over the world have existing housing stock that could be potentially revamped and retrofitted with better insulation, more energy-efficient systems, as well as a more functional layout. For one family in Sydney, Australia, the plan was to renovate a single-story terrace house that they purchased in 2019 and convert it into an investment property by renting it out for short-term stays. Due to its location in a heritage conservation area, any changes to the 871-square-foot (81-square-meter) house had to follow local regulations for preserving the facade and the number of bedrooms. Because the home was in a rundown state when it was purchased, the family chose local design firm Panda Studio Architecture to take on the project to help them accelerate the process. Bresic Whitney However, the family's plans changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the firm explains: "Due to the travel restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the brief evolved from being an Airbnb rental to potentially a student rental, and ultimately due to a stronger property market, the owner instead decided get the property ready to sell. This metamorphosis, however, sowed the seed for a need for workspaces to be incorporated into each of the bedrooms, ahead of its time in providing for working from home requirements." Here we see the existing facade of the home, with its original wrought iron details, which had to be kept according to heritage preservation rules. The challenge was to maintain the home's existing footprint, while also reconfiguring the layout to create more space for indoor and outdoor dining, and more space for entertaining. Bresic Whitney To achieve this, the new layout incorporates a clear line of sight from the front entrance of the house, down the corridor, and out into the backyard. Danielle Stein This visual connection helps to create a sense of spaciousness and flow that didn't exist before. Still standing at the front of the house, we see one of the bedrooms that connect to the main corridor, which has now been updated with a tall, built-in wardrobe for expanded storage, as well as an integrated desk area. Bresic Whitney Moving down the corridor, we have yet another renovated bedroom, also with its own built-in desk and wardrobe. Bresic Whitney Before the renovation, the home's single bathroom was located in a very odd spot at the very rear of the house and had to be accessed by exiting the kitchen. The new scheme now has two bathrooms, nested into each other and sitting much more conveniently in the middle section of the home. Here is the main bathroom with a shower, all redone with modern geometric tiling in black and white. Bresic Whitney The other bathroom functions as a powder room for guests with a toilet and small sink only. Danielle Stein The living room is quite minimal and compact and features a television cabinet that floats off the wall in order to save precious floor space, and give a greater sense of openness. Danielle Stein The sitting area overlaps the dining area, and we also see a door leading outside into the rear yard. Bresic Whitney The kitchen sits right at the back and is visually and spatially connected to the outdoor space, thanks to a set of bifold windows that can open the kitchen up to an outside bar counter. Danielle Stein We can see from this view here that you feel like you are still sitting in the kitchen here, despite being on the other side of the windows. Bresic Whitney The bar area is sheltered underneath an awning, and one can imagine that this layout allows for a hub of activity during evenings and weekends. Danielle Stein Here's another view of the outdoor bar, looking in past that dissolved corner. Danielle Stein There is also an outdoor dining area here as well, allowing residents and guests to enjoy this small backyard as much as possible. Bresic Whitney Ultimately, despite the family's change in plans, one can see that a few simple changes in layout can help to drastically improve a home, making it more suitable for reselling and future use. To see more, visit Panda Studio Architecture.