The Wine Merchant’s Hideaway

Project Description

WFH. Now a well worn household acronym that still continues to shift the 9-5, 5-days-a-week format most of the world had normalised, until 2020 arrived. Back when we were designing this modest upper floor studio addition—to what was a forlorn garage at the rear of an existing inner city townhouse—we had little idea that the simple ideas we were testing here would become a global necessity.


Our task was to maximise the utility of this compact backlot by creating a highly functional and adaptable work-from-home space for the client’s wine business, doubling on occasion as guest quarters, tripling as a footy night venue. The form absorbs as much of the title area as possible despite its awkward delineation across a shared right of way—achieved through cantilevering the upper floor into the lane. Equipped with simple fixtures, desk space, a bathroom and a long bar to facilitate frequent wine tastings, the studio’s orientation captures northeast light whilst maintaining discretion from neighbours through a patchwork of frosted and clear glass. The lightweight fibre cement sheet is accentuated with hardwood timber window frames, adding a touch of texture to what is otherwise a humble box.


One pandemic and a second child later the whole place seemed too small, so we wished our clients well in a new home. Though unbuilt, we were fortunate enough to work with our clients to generate ideas on how we might duplicate the function of a space to serve more than one thing for a growing family, living in a quintessentially tight inner north plot.


Completion Date



Wurundjeri / Clifton Hill VIC



Project Team

Nikhila Madabhushi





1. Existing Courtyard
2. Existing Garage
3. Existing ROW
4. Studio Entry
5. Bathroom
6. Lounge
7. Study