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East Melbourne House

September 3, 2012

Nic Owen Architects designs a sympathetic renovation to a historically sensitive Victorian terrace in inner-city Melbourne.

This project is an example of a restrained transformation to a Victorian terrace, offering a refreshing environment, maximising space and light within a historically significant building.

The site contains a two-storey brick Victorian terrace with bluestone cellar beneath. The terrace is on the Heritage registry as part of Canterbury Terrace, a group of sixteen residences built in 1877 – the longest known group of terraced houses in Victoria.

The brief required the rearrangement of activities and spaces to better cater for the young family, and provide more usable room within the existing walls. The informal dining, kitchen and lounge area has been opened up with the use of mirrors and a simplified monolithic stone workbench. The sculptural yet functional hoop pine joinery visually links with the waxed baltic pine flooring, recycled from the bedrooms upstairs. The result is a bright, highly functional family living space, replacing the home’s formerly overcrowded and cluttered spaces.

The first floor master bedroom is shared with an introduced timber-clad ‘pod’. The pod – containing ensuite and storage robe – is a rectangular cube floating within the historic environment. The pod demonstrates a deliberate attempt to respect the past whilst offering a new design approach.

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