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Mills House by Austin Maynard Architects

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Mills House, or the toy management house, is an extension to a one-level weatherboard terrace in Melbourne, Australia. Designed by Austin Maynard Architects, the home has a total floor area 154m² (1,658ft²). The house features the floor that is a giant toy box and the rear facade that filtering and softens the strong sunlight.

Everyone wants an abundance of storage. Terrace homes are roughly 6 metres wide. After adding walls, corridors, stairs, heating panels and cupboards we are left with very little width for living space. What if we didn’t have wall cupboards? We’d get almost 1 metre of space back into the width of our terraces. What if our storage space was within our floor? Floor space is often left to the mice and spiders. Lets convert the floor into storage space and make the living area as big as possible without lining the walls with bulky cupboards.

Beyond the need for storage we were also concerned with the radical day-to-day changes a new baby brings. The endless management of ‘stuff’ was the key. Gravity is colluding with your child and conspires in its favour. Parents constantly pick things up, whilst kids throw them down. Children seem to love dropping things on the ground. We have all seen the torturous game of a baby sitting in a high chair throwing a toy to the ground the moment it is placed on their table. It’s cute the first three times. It’s a nightmare the next 200 times. While gravity amuses the child, it punishes the parent. The trick is to work with the chaos a child brings rather than naively hoping that your child will choose to be neat. At Mills we have made gravity the parents’ ally rather than the child’s by enabling the floor to swallow all the mess. Rather than picking toys up to put back in the toy box, we’ve made the floor one big toy box. Let’s get a broom and sweep all the lego in from the top and sides. It becomes a game for the child as well as a new hiding place to play.

— Mills House by Austin Maynard Architects

Drawings:

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Photographs by Peter Bennetts Studio
Visit site Austin Maynard Architects

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