An Edwardian Home Gets a New Life Complete With a Sparkling Pool

An Edwardian Home Gets a New Life Complete With a Sparkling Pool

By Anna Squier
Wellard Architects gives a Melbourne family home a refreshing remodel that celebrates the past while embracing the future.

This single-family Edwardian residence is one of many historic dwellings which add to the rich and diverse streetscape of the Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick. Embracing the neighborhood’s unique spirit, the homeowners worked with Wellard Architects to expand their home while respecting its original character.

In the front of the home, original Edwardian details remain—including the stained glass doors and window. The large front yard remains as a play area for the children.

The project description originally called for a double-story extension. However, after analyzing the family of four’s current use of space, the architects proposed a new program: a single-story extension that pushed the boundaries out at ground level rather than up, resulting in private, usable rear garden space and open, north-facing living areas.

According to the architects, "Changing the nature of the extension allowed funds set aside for the two-story design to be repurposed for finish and detail. This is a far more positive outcome for the client, as the tactile and refined elements of the project add pleasure in the everyday use of the home."

The new extension is a serene, private retreat at the rear of the home. The design seamlessly blends indoor living spaces with an outdoor garden and lap pool.

The original chimney peeks above the new rear addition. Throughout the design, there is a play of tactile elements which blend old and new.

The single-story extension relocated the main living spaces to the rear of the home while organizing bedrooms and privates areas in the front of the home. 

The bedrooms are located in the more private front of the home. The original trim, windows, and casing remain, paired with modern furnishings and textiles. Here, a large decorative pendant light from Hub Furniture and a rounded floor mirror from Biasol Design serve as subtle accents.

The bathrooms remain light and bright with classic white ceramic wall tile, pale oak cabinetry, and Fibonacci Stone floor tile.

Wellard Architects preserved the existing home’s original Edwardian details—such as the fireplace in the en suite and the existing chimney. The firm sought to interfere with the existing building as little as possible while rejuvenating all of its rooms—a challenging, yet rewarding task. Injected with light and modern details, the result enhances rather than detracts from the home’s unique heritage.

A punched window opening introduces a contemporary element to the original home. The metal-clad window box contrasts with the Edwardian architecture, while connecting materially to the new addition.

Inside, the punched window opening provides the perfect location for a cozy window seat complete with built-in storage. By infusing the original home with natural light and modern touches, Wellard Architects were able to harmonize it with the more contemporary addition.

Continuous pathways lead from the bedroom quarters to the social living spaces. A new floor-to-ceiling window at the end of the extended entrance corridor defines the threshold of old and new with views to the rear garden and sparkling lap pool. 

A new skylight infuses the grand entrance corridor with natural light. Here, old and new meet as zones transition from private to social spaces.

The lap pool, an unexpected bonus due to the shift in design thinking, is now a key focal point visible from all areas, inside and out. As stated by the architects, "Water is a key element, and is visible from several vantage points. Reflected light bounces and sways off walls and ceilings, drawing you to the pool and ultimately into the new wing, where the focal points, at opposite ends, are the fireplace and kitchen, with materials of brick and stone, respectively balancing each other."

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A large floor-to-ceiling window provides uninterrupted views to the rear garden and lap pool, while visually marking the transition from old to new.

The lap pool provides a focal point both inside and outside. Connecting old and new, as well as public and private, the lap pool links all spaces at the heart of the home. 

The original chimney, which previously marked the rear facade of the home, continues the transition between old and new. Beyond it, free-flowing living spaces open to a welcoming and private outdoor space with a north-facing orientation. Dining, living, and cooking activities blend together in a warm and inviting space that opens directly to the outdoors.

Oak paneling conceals a utility core that houses a laundry area, powder room, and generous storage space on the back side of the chimney.

The chimney now houses a wood-burning fireplace, which adds warmth and a notion of historical character to the main living area. The wood dining table and chairs pair nicely with the custom oak credenza.

The open living area is light and bright, with flexibility integrated into the plan. A simple oak credenza provides minimal separation between the living area and the cooking/dining space. Large windows introduce plentiful natural light, while sliding glass doors draw in the garden. Oak paneling conceals additional kitchen storage space.

In the kitchen, oak millwork pairs with simple matte black cabinetry and stone accents. Sphere pendant lights from Hub Furniture hang above the island seating, adding a simple, playful touch to the open space. Connected to the garden and main living area, the kitchen is now the ideal location for gathering with friends and family.

The kitchen pairs simple joinery and sleek fixtures with natural materials—like the elegant stone island and backsplash. The concealed hood and simple stone shelf keeps the design clean and tidy along the cooking prep area.

The reorientation of the plan has increased the livable area for the homeowners. According to the architects, "The introduction of new internal and external zones has changed the way our clients occupy their home. Flowing spaces link seamlessly to the outdoors. Opportunities to entertain have been increased and made easier."

The indoor living spaces open onto a private garden retreat. Materials continue from inside to outside, further blurring the boundary between the two areas.

Large sliding glass doors enable seamless indoor/outdoor living. The fluid, open floor plan provides plenty of room for entertaining, play, and gathering.

The bluestone-clad addition appears to gently slide under the roof eave of the existing home, establishing a seamless connection between old and new.

Overall, the design is stripped of nonessential elements and organized around delicate and refined details. A tactile palette of bluestone, brick, and pale oak creates a warm and durable home that will suit this growing family of four for many years to come.

Related Reading:

Old Meets New in This Modern Extension to an Edwardian House in Melbourne

An Unassuming Edwardian Saves the Best for Out Back

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Wellard Architects / @wellardarchitects

Builder/General Contractor: Dimpat

Structural Engineer: Clive Steel Partners

Interior Design: Wellard Architects

Cabinetry Design/Installation: Mason Cabinets

Stylist: Bek Sheppard

Furniture Design - Dining Table: Made By Morgan

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