A holistic approach to this renovation has resulted in a space that oozes simple style punctuated by bold and beautiful features.
The brief was to reinvigorate the existing tired living rooms and bedrooms, to salvage the poorly laid-out kitchen and laundry and to connect with the rear garden.
This home, originally a single-level California bungalow with a two-storey addition, did not meet the needs of its occupants. The second level had been added 20 years earlier without much consideration given to practicality or functionality, so the owners decided to get it right this time.
AIGP was the firm of the architects enlisted to bring this home into line with the dream of the clients, a difficult task that has been well and truly achieved. The success of the project can be credited to two elements: trusting clients with a clear brief and architects who saw the project through from conception to the finer furnishings and smallest detail.
Paul Gleeson of AIGP explains, “The front section of the house comprised separate single rooms with dark-stained wood wall panelling and little natural light. The rear addition, living, kitchen and laundry spaces on the ground floor, had no connection to the rear garden.” The garden, incidentally, had become the graveyard of a pool fallen into disrepair.
To suffuse the home with light and air and achieve unity, a number of walls at ground level were removed. The entry poses a fork in the road, but tell tale signs of family life and a beaconing red overhead beam guide you into the heart of the house. Tasteful art and furnishings have also been introduced, offering in return a refined elegance to help combine the period features with more contemporary finishes and fittings.
The kitchen was enlarged and the clean white galley has become a beautiful point of focus as you make your way to the back of the home. A polished granite benchtop poses the perfect location for afternoon cups of tea with family and friends and the adjacent dining table with polished pendant lights suggests it is accustomed to long, lazy evenings where laughter is abundant.
To the rear of the house, new full-height bifold doors open to the yard beyond, connecting with the outdoors. The prior segregation between the living zones and the backyard was in desperate need of reconnection but now it’s evident right from the front door that this home enjoys the benefits of a smooth indoor-outdoor connection.
When asked about his inspiration for the home, Mark answers succinctly, “Light.” Then he elaborates. “Light; both in bringing in light and space to the house and also in the lightness of the materiality of the elements. While the dark floors ground the interiors, the whiteness of the spaces and integration of elements imbue a lightness and seamlessness in the design.”
Mark’s favourite element is “the red beam that slices through the house but integrates the spaces and the surprise of this element on entering what appears to be a traditionally renovated bungalow in the street”. This vibrant bulkhead came about from one of the challenges that presented itself when they were trying to work within an older framework.
“The existing stair penetrated below the new ceiling line and we considered this had to be concealed, so a continuous bulkhead was formed, which also then incorporated all the mechanical ductwork.” And rather than try to conceal it, they made this central beam a unique quirk that really adds to the appeal of the property.
Modern living was another key aspiration of the owners in this renovation. “The dissolution of the separate rooms into free-flowing spaces was crucial to achieving this aim,” says Mark. “Where possible it was also considered important to integrate elements like joinery into the space so they do not appear to be add-ons.”
While Mark is talking of the internal joinery, that description is apt for the whole home. The renovation itself is well considered and intelligently resolved, and it certainly dispels any notions of an “add-on” solution. The faultless integration of old and new provides this lucky family with a contemporary home full of heart.
Photography by Shania Shegedyn
AIGP Pty Ltd
Level 8, 180 Russell Street, Melbourne
03 9650 9393
Throughout: Japan ink-stained Tasmanian oak floorboards
Outdoor: jarrah boards
Throughout: painted plasterboard
Stair: 100mm x 50mm timber slats
Outdoor: painted brickwork
Benchtop: Lennox granite — polished finish
Splashback: toughened glass mirror
Cabinetry: laminate and two-pack polyurethane
Tiles: 300mm x 300mm charcoal-black textured ceramic
Recessed LV downlighting
Bluestone paving and jarrah boards