Home to architect Michael Artemenko, co-director of FIGR Architecture Studio—along with his wife Emma and their young daughter—this renovated heritage home in the Melbourne suburb of Cremorne uses a portal-like corridor that’s 16.4 feet high and more than 6 feet long to connect the original period home to a new wing.
Formerly a semi-detached Victorian worker’s cottage, the building’s heritage facade was restored to its former glory, leaving interesting period features intact. From the outside, the house looks like a snapshot from the past.
After walking through the front door and past a Victorian-style "gun barrel" corridor with bricks and fuchsia-painted walls, one arrives at a double-height tunnel made of spotted gum wood. This marks the point where the old architecture transitions into the new.
A laundry room and bathroom are concealed within the spotted gum corridor, which helps create a seamless flow from the past to the present while optimizing the house’s 1,238-square-foot floor plan.
Because the south-facing house shares a 17.7-foot-high wall with the neighboring semi-detached property, it was essential to find a way to bring more light into the interiors. FIGR Architecture Studio did so with a well-considered layout that includes plenty of floor-to-ceiling and highlight windows.
At the end of the dim tunnel is a modern space that opens with the living room entrance and a statement window that draws in the eye.
The journey through the dark tunnel to the new, light-filled addition is both a texturally interesting and atmospheric experience, where the contrast between old and new, dark and light, can be felt.
Crossing over to the new addition, the intimate kitchen and dining area connects to an outdoor veranda that's surrounded by foliage.
In order to bring in natural light, lots of thought was given to the placement of the windows and glass doors in the three bedrooms, along with the windows on the upper walls.
The kitchen features a bench with built-in storage. Sliding timber battens connect the kitchen to the rear yard, which can be opened to bring in more sunlight through a large west-facing window.
Aged-oak floors, honed-marble bench tops, Russian birch plywood, and a bronze-mirror backsplash bring a touch of the architect’s European heritage to the home, where the old is celebrated along with the new.