Traditional and contemporary architecture converge in this Melbourne home by Inglis Architects – and the results are nothing short of impressive.
When it comes to classic Victorian homes, Armadale is spoilt for choice. One of Melbourne’s most go-to suburbs for quaint cottages and terrace houses, Armadale is filled with beautifully traditional homes of all sizes. But when it came to this particular home, its heritage status was just the starting point. To modernise the home for twenty-first-century family living, Inglis Architects have undertaken a bold architectural update; adding size, spatial dimensions and a definitively contemporary aesthetic.
True to homes of its era, the original home was extremely compartmentalised into individual rooms, penalising light and flow between spaces. The living and kitchen areas were completely seperate, and the adjoining property on the home’s northern boundary further limited natural light. To remedy this, Inglis Architects inserted a two storey courtyard space, bringing light in to both the ground and first floors in key areas such as the living area and master bedroom. The new courtyard also creates a spatial separation between the living room and the rest of the home, encouraging communal activity.
Another key feature of the original home was the 3.4m ceiling heights, which the owners were keen to preserve and continue throughout the extension. While the soaring ceiling heights are aesthetically and spatially impressive in the new open plan extension, this feature had the potential to add bulk to the building when viewed from the pool and back garden. As a solution, Inglis Architects inserted planter boxes to green up the exterior façade, and added Juliette balconies to take in framed views of the garden the bedrooms above.
Materiality-wise, the design draws on a minimalist palette of masonry, timber and stone – not to mention the distinctive brickwork façade at the back of the home.“There was a purposeful sensitively in the selection of the external materials so that the extension set harmoniously with the existing heritage building” Inglis Architects explain. Handmade Danish bricks were chosen as the hero façade element, creating a character-filled aesthetic through the subtle differences in the colour and shape of each brick. “We attempt to highlight imperfections of the materials,” say the architects.
Inside, the materials continue the marriage of raw and refined, soft and bold. Timber floorboards and stone bench tops add modernity, and steel framing is used in both the windows and some stunning powder-green cabinetry. Furniture and soft furnishings were also chosen for their character, adding a dynamic touch to the pared-back interiors. “Quite often in contemporary houses designers choose to hide all of an owner’s belongings, which can lead to soulless spaces,” the architects tell us. “We have chosen to celebrate them and ensure the feeling that this is a home”.
Weaving together the classic and the contemporary, the character-filled and the minimal, this home is memorable in all the best possible ways. While it feels fully of its time, there is a generosity towards the home’s foundations in every space, creating spaces that are refreshed and ready to welcome many generations to come.