A Heritage Home Outside Melbourne Gets a Dramatic, Glass-Walled Addition

A Heritage Home Outside Melbourne Gets a Dramatic, Glass-Walled Addition

By Lauren Jones / Photos by Derek Swalwell
A retired couple in the seaside suburb of St. Kilda call on Jackson Clements Burrows Architects for a two-story addition behind a traditional facade.

In the beachside town of St. Kilda, Australia, just south of Melbourne, a 1900s Federation-style building was recently reimagined by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects. A two-story addition and a palette of timber, brick, steel, and glass blend the older sections of the home with the new and allow for maximum light, cross-ventilation, and connection to the adjacent garden. 

The master bedroom has become the ultimate haven with a clean concrete base, warm wooden flooring, matching built-in shelves, and access to the garden.

"The clients came to us after seeing other work that we had done," says architect Rob Majcen. "They really loved the brick screen facade in a particular project." 

The homeowners had lived in the area for a number of years and were drawn to the quality of homes in the neighborhood. 

From the master bath, the homeowners have easy access to their main living spaces and this private courtyard. 

"They saw the potential for an addition," he adds. 

But the nearly 3,500-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bath residence was seriously lacking in natural lighting, lacked a connection to the oversize yard, and had a closed-off layout, which was typical of an early 20th century–home of this style. Majcen came up with a "box on the back" approach for a two-story addition, which would respond to the orientation of the site, the original architecture, and offer a modern geometric interpretation. 

The new design, which included an exterior renovation as well, took all of the heritage elements to heart and responds to its unique gables while still providing a clear separation between the original home and the addition. 

The backyard is one of this home’s best features. With a lot that nearly equals the square footage of the home itself, there was plenty of room to play with landscaping. 

The homeowners provided a fairly open brief, but for JCB it was really about improving the already great spaces and connecting everything to the landscaping.

"The materials were very tactile," he says. "We got the rough, robust brickwork which related to the heritage building and was warmed by timber internally, which also contrasted against the smooth, rendered surfaces." 

The living room includes contemporary furnishings in a minimalist palette; a built-in, concrete-and-glass fire pit, and original brickwork. 

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Besides the hit-and-miss brickwork, which yields dappled lighting and breaks up a handful of outdoor areas, the centralized staircase is the main architectural focal point. At the top, there’s a nook shaded by an folded timber ceiling.

The main living areas are separated by a series of levels, which further emulate the organic, gabled structure. 

The staircase may just be the most impressive feature as it combines all of the materials in an architectural element that is both sculptural and functional.

In the kitchen, Majcen also chose robust materials, including a porcelain-topped steel bench, laminate-paneled cabinetry, and metallic fixtures. The open shelving also "speaks to the palette of steel and timber." 

Since the renovation, the full-length window at the back of the kitchen is populated by dense greenery, offering even more privacy to the homeowners. 

The homeowners, who are a retired couple, desired main living spaces that matched their busy lifestyles. 

"They are big entertainers and wanted a nice dining area," he says. "They are also big into gardening and wanted to make sure they were able to engage with the outdoor spaces." 

The dining room and adjoining kitchen, which features cloaked wine storage, is ideal for dinner parties or get-togethers with their two grown children.

Moving outdoors, the couple has plenty of room to spread out and enjoy. There is a barbecue pit, a storage trundle, and an infinity-edge spa and plunge pool. While more of a design element, it works well for the property and is a nice connection to the internal spaces. 

From their home on York Street, the couple are close to the beach and are happy to finally be settled into their new abode.

More by JCB Architects:

A Hardworking Home Puts a Modern Twist on the Farmhouse

Three Connected Pavilions Form This Airy Australian Beach Retreat

Project Credits:

Architect: Jackson Clements Burrows Architects / @jcbarchitects

Builder: Belair Builders

Structural Engineer: Meyer Consulting

Landscape Design: Eckerleys Garden Architecture

Interior Design: Jackson Clements Burrows Architects


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