Studio Wonder peel back the layers of a 1970s home to reveal all of its material glory while introducing considered complementary details.
Melbourne-based interior design practice Studio Wonder were asked to refurbish a 1970s home in Malvern, within an early Merchant Builder’s development. Built more than fifty years ago by Merchant Builders, the home bears the hallmarks of their uniquely Australian, architect-designed houses that promoted respect for suburban landscape.
Part of Merchant Builders’ legacy in Melbourne’s suburban vernacular, the Studio Wonder team set out to celebrate the home’s 1970s foundations, while keeping it inline with the client’s current and future needs. Preserving the timber-lined ceiling as the uniting thread throughout, Studio Wonder have brought forth characterful textures, vintage design pieces and a quintessential 70s palette – from burgundy, to tumeric and rust. It’s a compilation of the best of this bygone era, in harmony with contemporary art and objects.
Studio Wonder’s brief encompassed a new kitchen, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, robes, a study and overall space planning. Just as the home’s design had first intended, Studio Wonder emphasised the relationship with the lush greenery outdoors, encouraging interaction between the interior and exterior. Rather than changing the floor plan, Studio Wonder director Pip McCully says they focused on material selection. “Separate to knocking down walls, and opening up the space, we embraced the existing structure and preserved key elements while adding different finishes where necessary,” she says.
The timber ceiling was retained in key spaces, warming the light-reflecting, all-white walls. Carpet was removed and the concrete beneath was polished, as a hard-wearing flooring solution that still wears the home’s history. Pip says that from here, the material selection was pared right back and privileged earthy textures, such as the handmade tiles in both bathrooms. “We think of the resulting form as perfectly imperfect,” Pip says.
The Studio Wonder team introduced spice colours in an ode to the 70s. The owner also had an enviable art collection, as a result of their great relationships with local artists Graeme Drendel and Pasquale Giardino. Together, the nostalgic palette and key artworks informed the furniture, soft furnishings and lighting selection in each space. Classic and vintage pieces abound, including a vintage Eames dining table and vintage Ettore Sottsass floor lamp, mixed in with modern favourites from Muuto’s Outline Sofa to the Togo Fireside Armchair by Ligne Roset.
Studio Wonder have thoughtfully invigorated this classic ‘70s home with a newfound sense of purpose, honouring its iconic era and the owner’s unique art collection.