This light-filled Melbourne home introduces an open floor plan and a serene, neutral palette throughout its interiors.
For Kathryn Robson and Susie Cohen—the Melbourne-based designer duo behind this Victorian remodel—elegance lies in well-executed handcrafted details. With this bespoke design philosophy, the two set out to transform their clients’ dark single fronted Victorian home into a light, open space comfortable year-round for the couple and their two small children. The challenge, predictably, was preserving the unique facade while both increasing the amount of natural light and adding modern amenities. After collaborating with the client to understand and meet their long term needs, Kathryn and Susie have completed a remodel that successfully bridges the old and the new. Details like reused doors, original skirting boards and bricks maintain the visual integrity of the original home while a sleek new kitchen and concrete backyard unfold behind the original facade.
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As a nod to local history, the designers kept the home's original street-facing Victorian facade.
An Ingo Maurer Zettel’z 5 chandelier hangs in the entry hallway; sunlight from the home's expansive backyard is already visible on the white smoked oak floors.
The designers explain, “These steel windows played an integral part in making the interior feel larger and more open by blurring the boundaries between the interior and exterior.” A grey Halcyon Lake area rug, an oak chair from MAP, and Hans Wenger Wishbone chairs make for a simple, neutral palette. The painting over the fireplace is by Kate Hendry.
Faced with size constraints in the kitchen area—the designers were unable to build above 10 feet on the West facing side of the house—Robson and Cohen installed delicate steel clerestory windows which add extra illumination. A black Aggregato Saliscendi Suspension light, designed by Enzo Mari and Giancarlo Fassina for Artemide, accents against white honed Calacatta marble countertops and MAP's oak Milky Stools.
To stay within the budget, the designers decided to forgo natural stone in the bathrooms in lieu of simple vitrified tile. The bathroom isn't without its luxuries, however, as evidenced by the heated towel rail from Hydrotherm.
“[W]e didn’t need a huge space for our clients to live in harmony, it just needed to be a well thought out space,” says the architects. A V Leg Bed by George Nelson is a classic addition to the bedroom, along with Tolomeo wall mounted luminaires from Artermide. The artwork is from David Band.
The study has a fun, playful atmosphere thanks to a red Square Dining Chair from MAP, a Tempo wall clock by Naoto Fukasawa for Magis, and house sculpture also from David Band.
The backyard features a vertical garden, called the “picking wall” by the designers of Weller Landscapes, for its selection of kitchen herbs. In regards to the courtyard's wood and concrete finishes, the architects explain how “[The] materials all had an honest raw quality about them, allowing them to age gracefully and acquire their own patina over time.”