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Collection by Kelly Dawson

An Addition Creates a Sublime Indoor-Outdoor Space Behind an Old Edwardian

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A 1,500-square-foot home in Melbourne welcomes a modern black and white kitchen, dining, and living area.

When the owners of a property in Melbourne’s Hawthorn suburb approached director Michael Ong of MODO about a possible project, they presented a straightforward order. They liked the Edwardian features at the front of their home, but they were frustrated with the dark living room and awkward kitchen toward the back. They asked Ong, simply, to change it. Ong agreed that the house’s initial “charming” qualities gave way to a mismatched '80s renovation, but he wanted to replace it with a structure unique to their personalities. The couple spent a lot of time outdoors with their dog and cat, and they planned to plant vegetables alongside the verdant native species already growing in their garden. This was the detail Ong used to add dimension to the couple’s wishes, and he set out to create a modern addition that focused on the outdoors—all while complementing the Edwardian aesthetic everyone agreed to keep. “So often I see extensions that try to blend the new works with the old house, and more often than not, the ‘blending’ creates a confused architectural outcome that diminishes the value of both,” he says. “If we look at creating a contrast, we can address the different styles of architecture separately.” The distinctions between the old and the new, the front and the back, are what give the residence its unusual beauty.

“From the beginning we knew we needed to remove the rear 80s extension and preserve the front Edwardian home,”...
A range by Falcon stands in the kitchen; Apollo pendants by Masson for Light hang above the island.
“We kept the tones very neutral because we wanted the colors of the garden to come through,” Ong says.
“Natural light was not great in this house,” Ong says.
“The new living area is now nestled between the rear garden and the new courtyard,” Ong says.
Ong refers to the open space between the old and new structures as “the void,” and he says it's meant “to enhance the...
An Envy II Wall-Faced Suite toilet by Parisi sits in the home’s sole bathroom and Caroma’s Starlett 1850 Island Bath...
“Instead of extending the new living area from the existing house, we decided to build a stand-alone structure off the...
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