A Jewel Box Home in Melbourne Gets a Minty-Fresh Kitchen With a Cat Door

Architect Lisa Breeze expands the kitchen of a 1940s residence and includes cool-green cabinets, terrazzo floors, and a pass-through for a feline friend.
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Family heirlooms come in all shapes and sizes. Architect Lisa Breeze learned this firsthand when she was asked to update a beloved family property in Melbourne, a roughly 1,000-square-foot semi-detached brick house built by her client’s great granduncle in the 1940s.

"He has strong sentimental ties to the home—many fond memories of spending time there as a child," says Breeze of the owner, who wanted to honor his family’s history while updating spaces for the present. "This became a design challenge in itself, working out what to keep and what to let go of."

The compact footprint posed another challenge. "By Australian standards, this is a small home," Breeze says. "Comfortably arranging the spaces and functions to suit contemporary life was tricky."

Breeze updated the entry, the bedrooms, and the living room with small touches, but mostly focused on an expansion at the rear of the home, renovating the kitchen to include a dining area with a wall of glass that provides uninterrupted sight lines to the landscaped backyard. The natural light pouring in livens up the room’s terrazzo floors and minty color palette, which were inspired by the home’s original kitchen.

Remnants of the home’s past still reverberate throughout, like in the kitchen’s curved counters and fluted glass cabinet displays. Furthermore, material selections like glazed ceramic tiles and steel framed windows harken to the era in which the home was built.

Breeze even managed to rescue and rejuvenate the home’s old Bakelite handles for the reimagined kitchen. Collectively, the details amount to a refreshing take on an old home, which, says Breeze, "reflects the owner’s tastes in every way."

More from Lisa Breeze Architect:

A Compact Australian Bungalow Grows Grander With a Timber-Clad Addition

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Lisa Breeze Architect / @lisabreeze_architect

Builder/General Contractor: Silverstream Constructions

Structural and Civil Engineer: Structplan

Landscape Design: Greenbits

Lighting, Interior, and Cabinetry Design: Lisa Breeze Architect

Cabinetry Fabrication: Silverstream Constructions

Photography: Cathy Schusler

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