East Melbourne Residence is a thoroughly modern home set within an exquisite 19th century Heritage-listed Victorian terrace house. The historic suburb of East Melbourne plays backdrop for the project, an area known for its strict Heritage overlay. And although the site and context proved to be one of the most challenging aspects of East Melbourne Residence, it ultimately adds layers of interest and legacy.
Set across three key zones, the project comprises the original terrace dwelling, a renewed courtyard and a modern addition at the back. Each of the elements now works cohesively, responding specifically to the client's needs.
The interiors have been completely reshaped – from the volumes and spatial planning right down to the materiality. Working with the existing, yet obscured ornamentation of the building, beautiful details have been revealed such as cornicing, arched doorways and even an original window frame on the southern façade. These all play against the incredibly modern insertions.
The biggest of these insertions are a ‘black box’ scullery, which the kitchen and dining have been hung around, and a storage wall that runs the length of the main living space. Both devices aid in establishing a refined linearity, while hiding any clutter. In addition, the interior has been formed by an understanding of light and controlling it, whether artificial or natural.
Bringing the outside in and allowing the inside to connect to the outside also ensures the home offers high levels of tranquillity and peace. Framed views to the outside, and a transformed garden and courtyard help to achieve this. The new outdoor area features staggered bluestone tiling, the perfect setting for the owner’s collection of Bonsai trees.
Looking back across the courtyard to the main house is a new addition. Unafraid of casting a stark juxtaposition against the main heritage house, the new building houses a garage and self-contained unit. Drawing influence from other studios in the laneway, the zinc-clad building revitalises the existing design language.
Ultimately, this home provides sheltered respite for its inhabitants, while allowing them to feel connected to their surrounds, all while acknowledging the deeply embedded history of the home.
“Every project begins with a big idea, in the case of East Melbourne Residence, that idea sought to bring order and appropriateness of scale, respect for heritage and outright contemporaneity to a Victorian terrace. Central to the design is to achieve the ‘feel of the space’; the play of light, reflection, neutral materiality, the control of contrasts and integration of landscape.” – Sue Carr, Principal
“The studio addition is very much a modern interpretation of what can be seen in the laneway, there’s a consistent language.” – Lucy Cuthbertson, Associate
“In this project we set out to provide greater clarity and legibility to the plan, ensuring that no spaces are redundant, everything has a purpose, revitalising a grand heritage house into a contemporary family home.” – Chris McCue, Director