A Historic Melbourne Home Is Respectfully Modernized For a Young Family

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Still adhering to its local neighborhood vernacular, this delightful dwelling in the suburb of Princess Hill gets a contemporary rear-facade refresh.

After a thoughtful remodel, Australian firm Tom Robertson Architects has transformed this heritage home into a bright and modern dwelling for a couple with two young children. Measuring at 1,938 square feet, the house features a large open-plan living area, a private roof terrace, along with a quaint study, and three bedrooms.

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Despite the rear facade's contemporary design, the heritage details on the front of the house were retained and restored.

Despite the rear facade's contemporary design, the heritage details on the front of the house were retained and restored.

While the original vision of the renovation was to create an eclectic industrial aesthetic, the architects became inspired by the interesting historical character of the property and switched their focus to a much more calm and restrained design.  

Robertson restored the existing rooms in the front of the original house, and redesigned the back of the home to have a much more modern, indoor/outdoor living experience.

Robertson restored the existing rooms in the front of the original house, and redesigned the back of the home to have a much more modern, indoor/outdoor living experience.

"This was more respectful of the beautiful heritage house," explains Robertson. Though the overall design concept is clearly contemporary, elements such as recycled bricks and restored stucco arches connect the redesign to the original fabric of the historic home. 

The upper section of the façade is clad in timber, and features large steel-framed windows that extend slightly beyond the siding.

The upper section of the façade is clad in timber, and features large steel-framed windows that extend slightly beyond the siding.

A look at one of the restored stucco arches along the ceiling of the hallway.

A look at one of the restored stucco arches along the ceiling of the hallway.

"One of the most interesting features is the glazed floor above the master corridor that allows a flood of light to penetrate into the kitchen zone," says Robertson.

"One of the most interesting features is the glazed floor above the master corridor that allows a flood of light to penetrate into the kitchen zone," says Robertson.

Most of the furniture items were sourced from Melbourne furniture retailer Luke Furniture.  

Most of the furniture items were sourced from Melbourne furniture retailer Luke Furniture.  

Washed oak joinery and textured tiles add warmth to the space, providing a soft contrast to the crisp concrete and brick.  

Washed oak joinery and textured tiles add warmth to the space, providing a soft contrast to the crisp concrete and brick.  

Shop the Look
Norm Architects Hang Tall Stool
Norm Architects Hang Tall Stool
Designed by Norm. Architects, the Hang Tall stool is part of a range of minimalist stools, different in shape and size, that fit flawlessly in many living spaces; in the bathroom, kitchen, in a bar and in retail spaces.
Muuto Under The Bell Pendant
Muuto Under The Bell Pendant
A deceptively complex pendant that, through its innovative design, creates an environment of warmly diffused light and controlled acoustics.
Menu Glass Echasse Vase
Menu Glass Echasse Vase
The Echasse Vase combines the classic elegance of a traditional glass vase with a playful, light expression. The word échasse is French for "stilts," and this round-bottomed vase is anchored to the table with four slender brass legs that resemble its namesake.
A simple color palette of gray, white, and brown gives the home a sleek, Scandinavian-inspired vibe.

A simple color palette of gray, white, and brown gives the home a sleek, Scandinavian-inspired vibe.

Hard materials such as polished concrete were used for the interior floors and bench-tops. The interior brick walls were all painted white.

Hard materials such as polished concrete were used for the interior floors and bench-tops. The interior brick walls were all painted white.

To avoid a dark, claustrophobic feel, Robertson introduced a skylight to open up and brighten the interiors. 

To avoid a dark, claustrophobic feel, Robertson introduced a skylight to open up and brighten the interiors. 

The bedroom on the upper level features a strategically placed window that frames vistas of the mountains and beyond.

The bedroom on the upper level features a strategically placed window that frames vistas of the mountains and beyond.

The upper level includes an open study area, as well as a private master bedroom. 

The upper level includes an open study area, as well as a private master bedroom. 

Sliding glass doors next to a freestanding bath provide visual connectivity to the outdoors.

Sliding glass doors next to a freestanding bath provide visual connectivity to the outdoors.

A new bathroom is located just before a step down to the living areas.

A new bathroom is located just before a step down to the living areas.

On the roof terrace is a casual chair and planter, which helps make this space a lovely spot to relax and soak up the Australian sunshine.

On the roof terrace is a casual chair and planter, which helps make this space a lovely spot to relax and soak up the Australian sunshine.

A sectional drawing.

A sectional drawing.

The ground-level plan.

The ground-level plan.

The loft-level plan.

The loft-level plan.

Project Credits: 

Architecture and interior design: Tom Robertson Architects

Builder: 2iC Construction

Photography: Lillie Thompson

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