A $437K Retrofit Turns a Dilapidated Edwardian Into a High-Design Haven

A $437K Retrofit Turns a Dilapidated Edwardian Into a High-Design Haven

By Lucy Wang
A first-time owner-builder masterfully crafts a home for a family of six in Melbourne, Australia.

Working with a first-time owner-builder can be challenging, but Melbourne architect Melanie Beynon had no reservations when she started collaborating with the new owners of a Northcote Edwardian home.

"The clients’ attention to detail was second to none," says Beynon of the couple, one of whom was her husband’s former bass guitar teacher. "They handpicked the timbers for the build and worked with trades that were willing to teach and guide them. They took the design and documentation, and made the best of it with execution."

Timber-framed glass sliding doors open up the interior to the outdoors and natural light. Western red cedar shingles and Tasmanian oak shiplap clad the exterior.

The view from the kids’ zone located in the original part of the house. The architects kept the Edwardian layout of four bedrooms with a central hallway.

The clients had purchased the Edwardian in a Melbourne suburb with the intent of renovating and expanding the building to better suit their young family of six.

Guided by the family’s desire for an abundance of natural light and acoustic isolation, the design team organized the house into two zones—one for adults and the other for the children—located on opposite ends of the house. The areas are joined in the middle by a central living space.

Inside one of the kids’ bedrooms at the front of the house is an Oeuf Perch lofted double bed, a Pumpkin armchair by Ligne Roset, and a Grain Cut side table in black from Domo.

A piano room sits off to the side of the central family room. "Moving through the low entry threshold to the pitched ceiling of the extension" is one of Beynon’s favorite parts of the house.

Located in the new rear extension, the family living room is bathed in daylight from large glass sliders that open up to a south-facing courtyard with a raised deck. The clients’ passion for unique craftsmanship and dedication to detail shines in this voluminous and tactile room, where exposed Tasmanian Oak panels wrap the walls and pitched ceiling, while handmade elements lend warmth to the minimally dressed interiors.

Rounded furnishings balance out the sharp angles in the living/dining room. No.B9 Le Corbusier chairs in black by Thonet are arranged around a Tripod table by Mark Tuckey. The vase is by Bridget Bodenham.

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"Customized joinery and storage units are found throughout the house in unexpected locations, offering dual access to separated spaces," note the architects.

A Roly Poly chair by Faye Toogood sits atop a Tartan Kilim Rug by Halcyon Lake. The artwork is by Emily Ferrenti.

"The tactile detailing extends to the exterior of the house, which features a sawtooth roofline, raw cedar shingles, and shiplap cladding on the walls," say the architects. "These timber elements will silver in time, allowing the new extension to settle into its surroundings."

The timber deck is level with the living room floor (made of blackbutt wood) so that it feels like an extension of the interior.

The U-shaped home wraps around a central courtyard with a raised deck that’s perfect for outdoor entertaining. M pavilion stools by Chris Connell for Grazia & Co are pictured.

The 3,230-square-foot, five-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath project took a year to complete—six months for the design phase and an additional six for construction—at a cost of $600,000 AUD (about $437,000 USD). In addition to doing much of the labor themselves, the homeowners managed to reduce costs by sourcing recycled materials, salvaging elements from the original structure, and working directly with some timber mills rather than going through a local supplier.

The kitchen backsplash comprises custom speckled white Anchor Ceramics tiles. Brodware taps are installed above a stainless-steel countertop and double sink.

Exposed Tasmanian oak planks complement the reclaimed brick walls and handmade Anchor Ceramic tiles.

A door in the open-plan living room opens up to another yard area that’s screened from the neighbors by a north boundary party wall. An Oxydation low table by Ligne Roset complements the Plum Settee by Ligne Roset, both of which are from Domo.

"Their unique craftsmanship, material choices, and dedication to detail resulted in a masterful design that feels generous and warm throughout," say the architects.

A peek inside the master bedroom. "Patricia Urquiola door handles and handmade paper pendants reflect the owners’ appreciation for crafted pieces, which will endure with the home and family as they grow," note the architects.

The shared kids’ bath features a tile terrazzo floor, soaking tub, and Brodware taps. The clerestory window lets in northern light without compromising privacy.

Handmade, matte Spanish tiles supplied by the client line the bathroom walls and complement the Brodware tapware for a clean and minimalist look.

Northcote House floor plan

Related Reading:

2 New Gable Roofs Brighten Up an Edwardian Cottage in Melbourne

Old Meets New in This Modern Extension to a Melbourne Edwardian

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: Melanie Beynon Architecture & Design / @melaniebeynon_architecture

Builder/General Contractor: Client

Cabinetry Design/Installation and Joinery: Westwood

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