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.