Dairy House by Dan Gayfer Design
The Dairy House is a stunning renovation undertaken by Dan Gayfer Design in the Footscray suburb of Melbourne, Australia. This 1,453 square foot dwelling has its roots originating from 1894. The old brick dairy plays a key role in the new design, supporting the first floor which extends to a beautiful terrace and outdoor areas.
A 125-year old brick dairy has been carefully integrated into the design, supporting a new first floor whose structural steel extends beyond the building defining an outdoor terrace below. The original facade of the dairy sits in the foreground bringing a unique yet charming character to the building’s architecture.
The brick dairy, constructed in 1894 before the residence, has a character rarely encountered that we not only wanted to preserve but introduce into the design. Subsequently, a series of undeniably unique structures, elements, details, and spaces have been created that are directly related to the dairy’s retention. With double brick walls on all sides absorbing sound and its location at the rear of the property, the dairy was the perfect option to locate the music studio. Being a professional musician, one of the owners needed to both practice and teach music from home.
As both owners regularly worked from home, there also needed to be alternatives to the dairy that could provide this function. To accommodate this lifestyle, or other family members finding their own place of solace, the concept of separating the everyday living spaces evolved – a departure from the open plan scenario that is often requested in a project brief. The origin of this concept of separation essentially begins in the stair void, this space distributing one to their preferred space of privacy including the living room, study nook, dining booth, music studio (dairy), and the upstairs retreat – all destinations in their own right.
It is not every day you find an aging dairy in the kitchen or the dining room. There is a unique ambiance present in these spaces that only a building of this age can bring, though difficult to describe it is one the owners can experience every single day. Ultimately, the dairy provides a permanent glimpse of not only the history of the property but also to the suburb of Footscray. Importantly, this juxtaposition between this historical building and the adjacent spaces is carefully crafted through a material palette that highlights the dairy’s features yet is synthetic to its original facade.
The first-floor addition sits upon a large component of the dairy resulting in a rear facade that is not something you will see very often. The dairy sits in the foreground, its original facade and windows bringing a unique character to the built form of the project. The dairy’s original doors and windows have been retained on all facades, emphasising the concept of the old meeting the new. Although this concept is far from unique in itself, the method in which it has been implemented and the resulting building and its spaces are, unquestionably, a one-off.