Before & After: A Remodel Saves a ’40s Home With an ’80s Identity Crisis
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Before & After: A Remodel Saves a ’40s Home With an ’80s Identity Crisis

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By Melissa Dalton
Drawing Room Architecture reinvigorates a clashing Melbourne home with paint, custom cabinetry, and cohesive lighting.

When Drawing Room Architecture first walked through this Melbourne home, it was a mash-up of Arts and Crafts tradition with playful Memphis details, thanks to a 1989 remodel of the original 1940s structure.

"Its central identity was confused," said the firm. "It was a house that held many stories, but they were muffled and haphazardly layered one over another. We needed to pick these pieces apart and put them back together in harmony."

Before: The Kitchen

Good bones persevered throughout the home. An abundance of windows bring natural light into the kitchen.

Good bones persevered throughout the home. An abundance of windows bring natural light into the kitchen.

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However, the dark colors chopped up the space and made it feel smaller.

However, the dark colors chopped up the space and made it feel smaller.

After: The Kitchen

In the kitchen, the designers painted the existing cabinetry and kept the hardware. They installed new Caesarstone raw concrete composite stone counters, a tile backsplash, and a custom wall shelf. A new black faucet echoes the cabinet pulls. The pendant is a Mini Disk hanging light from tossB.

In the kitchen, the designers painted the existing cabinetry and kept the hardware. They installed new Caesarstone raw concrete composite stone counters, a tile backsplash, and a custom wall shelf. A new black faucet echoes the cabinet pulls. The pendant is a Mini Disk hanging light from tossB.

New cabinetry with a modern sensibility corrals clutter, and a smaller dining set better suits the scale of the kitchen’s eating nook.

New cabinetry with a modern sensibility corrals clutter, and a smaller dining set better suits the scale of the kitchen’s eating nook.

Before: The Hallway

Per the designers: "Initially [the home] was full of years of clutter. Lighting fixtures had no cohesive style or finish. DIY tweaks held meaning to the former occupants, but sat awkwardly alongside decades of changes and updates that overwhelmed the interiors, and made them look smaller and darker than they in fact were."

Per the designers: "Initially [the home] was full of years of clutter. Lighting fixtures had no cohesive style or finish. DIY tweaks held meaning to the former occupants, but sat awkwardly alongside decades of changes and updates that overwhelmed the interiors, and made them look smaller and darker than they in fact were."

After: The Hallway

Drawing Room Architecture brought in more cohesive lighting and a consistent color palette with Dulux Manila paint. "It’s a warm, playful, and rich color with the overall effect being one of vibrancy and delight," the designers said. The light is the Discus 2 from Volker Haug Studio.

Drawing Room Architecture brought in more cohesive lighting and a consistent color palette with Dulux Manila paint. "It’s a warm, playful, and rich color with the overall effect being one of vibrancy and delight," the designers said. The light is the Discus 2 from Volker Haug Studio.

Before: The Dining and Living Room

More dark paint distracted from the views outside, and the new homeowners wanted to embrace the garden setting of the home.

More dark paint distracted from the views outside, and the new homeowners wanted to embrace the garden setting of the home.

After: The Dining and Living Room

The designers swapped in a dining set where occasional chairs once stood. "All skirting, cornices, architraves, stair trims, window trims, and door frames were painted white," said the firm. "This bought in more light, and as the daylight’s shadows play on the details throughout the day, a cohesive story of history is bought subtly to attention."

The designers swapped in a dining set where occasional chairs once stood. "All skirting, cornices, architraves, stair trims, window trims, and door frames were painted white," said the firm. "This bought in more light, and as the daylight’s shadows play on the details throughout the day, a cohesive story of history is bought subtly to attention."

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Circa Lighting Fett Pendant
Circa Lighting Fett Pendant
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Menu Cage Marble Table
Menu Cage Marble Table
The Menu Cage Marble Table is as lavish as it is functional. The bottom portion features a design intentionally to be as used as storage so fill with magazines, blankets, even vinyl records.
In the new dining room, the firm surrounded a table commissioned from Ross Didier with Half Hurdle chairs in white and oak from Doweljones. An Ora pendant from Ross Gardam hangs above the table.

In the new dining room, the firm surrounded a table commissioned from Ross Didier with Half Hurdle chairs in white and oak from Doweljones. An Ora pendant from Ross Gardam hangs above the table.

Before: The Staircase

"The existing staircase felt very Memphis," say the designers.

"The existing staircase felt very Memphis," say the designers.

After: Staircase

Rather than rip out the staircase, they applied a soft and earthy paint palette that syncs with the tones in the existing floors and helps everything to blend.

Rather than rip out the staircase, they applied a soft and earthy paint palette that syncs with the tones in the existing floors and helps everything to blend.

Before: The Master Bedroom 

The designers kept the existing cabinetry.

The designers kept the existing cabinetry.

As well as the windows.

As well as the windows.

The in-room vanity was looking dated before.

The in-room vanity was looking dated before.

After: The Master Bedroom

"It needed cosmetic love to bring back its former glory," the firm said of the home. "It needed better lighting, some key furniture pieces, and better and stronger colors to offset the interiors in their lush green garden setting." The bedrooms received new cork floors as well.

"It needed cosmetic love to bring back its former glory," the firm said of the home. "It needed better lighting, some key furniture pieces, and better and stronger colors to offset the interiors in their lush green garden setting." The bedrooms received new cork floors as well.

The designers rebuilt the vanity with MAXI Film birch plywood in black, and a Caesarstone raw concrete composite stone counter.

The designers rebuilt the vanity with MAXI Film birch plywood in black, and a Caesarstone raw concrete composite stone counter.

After: The Kids' Room

"One of the existing bedrooms was so big, it could easily become the bedroom for both children," said the firm. "A custom shelving unit became a screen, as well as a series of shelves, nooks, and desk spaces."

"One of the existing bedrooms was so big, it could easily become the bedroom for both children," said the firm. "A custom shelving unit became a screen, as well as a series of shelves, nooks, and desk spaces."

After: The Exterior

The home’s exterior is painted Dulux Black so as to sit in contrast with the verdant setting.

The home’s exterior is painted Dulux Black so as to sit in contrast with the verdant setting.