It’s hard for architect Penny Kinsella to pinpoint one feature she loved about the grand terrace in Melbourne’s South Yarra she was asked to transform. That’s because she says there were so many, such as the “quirky little staircase to the attic”, the “widow’s walk” – a rooftop viewing platform – and the rustic basement with its coal chute still intact.
These original details reflect the Victorian building fabric Penny was approached to restore while carrying out a modern-day intervention, unlike any the home had seen in the 20th century. Through a contemporary interpretation that honours what came before, the architect took some of the home’s biggest challenges – such as the need for natural light – and turned them into some of its biggest successes. We caught up with Penny to uncover what influenced her design response, the materials she favoured, and why she believes investing in quality fixtures goes beyond aesthetics and function.
Produced in partnership with Rogerseller