The heritage listed house was originally designed in 1956 by architects Mockridge Stahle and Mitchell, the challenge was to create new internal spaces that worked with the original window grid on the upstairs front façade as well as a layout that worked for a busy family 50 years later.

Our intention was to design new interior spaces that complemented and acknowledged the original house and at the same time worked for a modern family.

The original internal spaces were very small and the reworking of these required solutions to enable everyday contemporary life. The kitchen was moved from the rear of the house to the front of the house, acknowledging both the view and the clients’ enjoyment of cooking and entertaining.

Because of the original window grid, the kitchen size was fixed – too little space for a casual dining table and a large kitchen. The solution was a large island bench taking in the view with a casual kitchen ‘table’ at one end of the island bench. A change in material from stone to American Oak timber veneer created the ‘table’ element of the bench combined with a soft low hanging incandescent light fitting.

A new wing was added to the rear of the house and the ensuite to the master bedroom is situated in this wing. The clients wanted a spacious master suite, dressing room and ensuite, again the original windows on the front façade dictated the sizes of the master bedroom – this area was originally was the master suite and another bedroom.

Furnishings throughout have been selected for their sympathy to the era of the house, but with a contemporary twist. All the timber pieces are Australian made and designed. Hand printed Australian fabrics have been used. Some classic design pieces of furniture have been selected for their material and design suitability and because they were designed in the 50’s, these items include the Arne Jacobson Series 7 dining chairs, casual cane chairs in the lounge and the George Nelson lights in the kitchen and dining room.

Externally, the original colours were researched through discussions with the original architect’s daughter and by viewing old photographs of the house. It was discovered that the original colour of the house was named ‘boat house’ red by the architects – Melbourne Grammar’s boat shed on the Yarra (also designed by Mockridge Stahle Mitchell) was (at the time) painted the apparent correct colour, so this was matched. Another technique of Mockridge Stahle Mitchell was to paint the opening windows black and the fixed windows white, this scheme was also reinstated to the original timber windows. All the new windows in the house are aluminum to distinguish between old and new.

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