Minimalist Zen Renovation

This 1960’s Canberra house was perfectly comfortable, but had seen better days. It had very minimal connection to the backyard and a strange ensuite/robe arrangement off the master bedroom that desperately needed resolving. It is fairly common for Canberra homes from this era to have ‘utility rooms’ (bathrooms, laundries etc) facing onto the backyard and therefore blocking access from the living areas. Our brief was to re-design around these problem areas while sticking to a strict budget.

Our approach was to leave as much of the existing structure and roof shape in situ. Because every interior wall was structural, we modified this house as minimally as possible in order to resolve the layout. We then added on outdoor ‘living’ areas, both off the kitchen and off the ensuite to connect the house more with the backyard and provide a comfortable, protected set of spaces for indoor/outdoor living.

We contrasted the style of the existing brick house by creating black-steel and white-clad structures with timber slats for privacy. We incorporated this black steel into the existing building fabric as well, allowing for wide opening doors both off the kitchen and off the ensuite onto the outdoor areas. This has effectively doubled the amount of living/kitchen area in this home, by creating versatile and useable outdoor spaces.


  • BuilderCJC Constructions, Canberra
  • Engineer – John Skurr Consulting Engineers
  • Energy Rater – Architecture Republic (completed in-house)
  • Photographer – Kerrie Brewer

Building Features:

  • Ritek roof
  • Spotted gum decking
  • Double-glazed aluminium windows
  • Wormy Chestnut timber cabinetry


Minimalist Zen Renovation by Architecture Repubic in Canberra

En Suite Breakout Space

Our Australian indoor-outdoor lifestyle doesn’t have to be restricted to living areas. This small, private garden space opens off the master bedroom’s ensuite, creating extra room, but also beautiful natural light and ventilation to the shower and bath.


The kitchen also connects seamlessly to the outside with the benchtop inside and outside mirroring one another exactly. This allows for easy passing of food from the kitchen into the outdoor barbecue area.

Minimalist Zen Renovation by Architecture Repubic in Canberra
Minimalist Zen Renovation by Architecture Repubic in Canberra


The pared back ‘wormy chestnut’ timber cabinetry matches throughout the kitchen, laundry and ensuite, providing a seamless palette for the house.

Outdoor Living

By removing the tangle of laundries, old utility rooms and stuffy sunrooms, we were able to connect the kitchen more seamlessly with the al fresco area and the backyard. The laundry is now in a laundry, but has not lost any useable storage or wall space.

Minimalist Zen Renovation by Architecture Repubic in Canberra

Like What You See?

Feel free to contact our offices in Canberra and Bowral. We also operate in Goulburn, the Southern Highlands, Sydney and throughout New South Wales.

Mobile: 0404 654 225
Post: PO Box 1572 Bowral, NSW 2576 and PO Box 3062 Belconnen, ACT 2617
Architect Registration Number: 9651 (NSW) 2525 (ACT)