Australia’s most outstanding homes have been named in this year’s Houses Awards – an annual celebration of residential design and architecture. It’s a chance to marvel at the impact good design can have on otherwise humble buildings, such as a Victorian terrace or a suburban apartment block.

This year, one standout home in Melbourne’s inner north – Autumn House by Studio Bright – received an unprecedented four gongs: Australian House of the Year; House Alteration and Addition Over 200 Square Metres; Garden or Landscape; and House in a Heritage Context, which was jointly awarded to Autumn House and Fusilier Cottage in Hobart by Bence Mulcahy.

“This is the first time in the Houses Awards’ 12-year history that one home has won this many categories,” said jury chair Alexa Kempton in a statement. “It is a superbly executed alteration to a Victorian terraced house … Every inch of this alteration and addition is well-considered and has been addressed with precision and skill.”

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Kempton explains the judges were wowed by Studio Bright’s work on Autumn House to maximise space and thoughtfully preserve its heritage elements.

“For the past two years, we have expected more of our homes than ever before. They have simultaneously needed to be places for interaction and retreat, working and learning, play and rest,” she says. “Autumn House meets all of these needs and more. It demonstrates how comprehensive design thinking can shape a humble terraced house into one of the most outstanding examples of residential design in our country.”

In Brisbane, a Queenslander called Cascade House was awarded the prize for House Alteration and Addition Under 200 Square Metres. The interior design, by John Ellway, was praised for its staggered living spaces created on a modest budget and scale.

In Sydney, a light and well organised 1960s unit in Cremorne was named best Apartment or Unit for its transformative renovation by Brad Swartz Architects. Judges commented on the “true reimagining of what is possible” at Inala Apartment thanks to the way the architects reworked the compact space into a haven of light and calm.

The Sustainability Award went to Coburg, Victoria residence The Hütt 01 Passivhaus. The small-scale family home, designed by Melbourne Design Studios, is an example of “doing more with less”. It’s a home that aspires to carbon neutrality while being practical and playful.

See all the award winners at the Houses Awards website.