We first came across Maryanne's incredible work when she and her client specified our Vinny Dining Tableand Vinny Dining Chairs for a Kingsford home project. "Courtyard House" is an impressive Californian bungalow transformation with an added modern structure designed around a central courtyard. After seeing this wonderful project we just had to find out more about her practice and the project.
Hi Maryanne, we are so excited to sit down with you and find out more about yourself and the Kingsford project.
Tell us about your journey to becoming an architect and starting your own practice?
I was one of those kids that was always drawing, making something or trying to figure out how to make something, that curiosity eventually drew me to study architecture. I studied at UTS in Sydney, worked in London for a few years and then found myself back in Sydney.
Working on a range of projects in my early years led me to realise my passion for houses. Working together with the clients, the end-user of the building to create a home specifically for them and the realisation of the end result is incredibly exciting. Before starting a practice of my own I had twenty years of local Sydney experience to draw on.
How would you describe your design process? What inspires you?
The design process is always an intuitive approach for me, it starts with the clients brief and of course the site. Each house ends up looking different from the last one, as the clients personalities are reflected in the design.
My inspiration comes from a range of places, mostly nature and landscapes. Art and travel always give me energy and inspiration.
Your project in Kensington is gorgeous. What was the brief and was your client heavily involved?
The clients, Nicole and Anthony purchased a tired looking Californian Bungalow. They came to me with a brief to rejuvenate the home for their young family, along with a desire to retain some of the cherished character of the original home.
The design intentionally sought to preserve and build on the existing layers of the home. With a focus on re-use the addition cottage was retained. The new architectural form at the rear of the house is created with a focus on more modern light filled spaces using recycled and sustainable materials. Even the demolished bricks from the original home were re-used in the paved areas or painted and re-used in the new walls.
The clients brief of retaining, re-use and modest budget was the catalyst in creating a modern and liveable solution to a common suburban situation. The collaboration with the client was an integral part of the design process and key in its success.
What was the most challenging part of the project? What is your favourite space in the house and why?
The challenge in this process was how the modern addition would integrate and connect with the old house. This brought about questions on how much should be retained to keep the integrity of the original house, how should they connect and what elements if any can be continuous.
The courtyard helped to resolve this, its placement formed the connection between the old and the new. It is my favourite part of the house, it fills the centre of the home with sunlight and air.
For anyone wanting to start their own business, what would your piece of advice be in running a successful practice?
Starting your own business is daunting, challenging, exciting but its also incredibly rewarding. My tip would be to follow your passion and what interests you. Surround yourself with like minded people that encourage you and can give honest opinions.
Lastly, when we can travel again, what's the first country you want to go to and why?
My mother and father both emigrated to Australia in the fifties, they are from an island on the coast of Croatia and much of my extended family are still there. My husband and I took our two daughters there a few years back and we can't wait to visit again. On the way there we will have to do an extended stop over in Japan, there is a uniqueness about the people and the place that draws me in.
Discover more about Maryanne at https://www.mtarchitect.com.au/
Landscape Architect: The Form Landscape
Builder: Real Building
Photography: Luc Remond