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studiofour creates stripped back Melbourne home

Feb 11, 2020
  • Article by Online Editor

Inspired by hygge and the beauty of the unadorned, studiofour transforms a 1970s brown brick building into a home filled with depth and soul.

The 5263-square-foot Central Park Road Residence in the Melbourne suburb of Malvern evokes the heritage of its Danish owners, starting from the exterior bricks, which were repainted charcoal black.

Central Park Road Residence

This colour choice and its sense of shadow bled inside to inform the interiors, which the studio says were filled with “moody drama.

“Our focus was to return the house to its essence of form and to create a home full of atmosphere and individuality.”

The dark interior space of the original home was transformed into an open plan structure with additional windows added to lighten the kitchen and meals areas and better connect the spaces with the pool and substantial soft landscaping.

An interior portal connects the adjacent spaces with plate glass walls and solid walls used interchangeably to acoustically isolate, while promoting “a controlled visual connection”.

Central Park Road Residence

Outside, an oversized eave “emphasises the horizontality of the facade and strengthens the cohesiveness of the existing architectural form.”

The vertical joints in the brickwork have been filled, while the horizontal joint lines raked for emphasis. Inside, the plasterboard ceiling was covered in oak battens, a common material choice in hygge-inspired projects.

Central Park Road Residence

studiofour admits it knew little about hygge before speaking to the property’s owners.

More than just a preference for black, grey, white and timber, hygge is a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. It conjures up images of simple family gatherings and unfussy interiors.

Central Park Road Residence

In this sense, studiofour chose to leave the walls of the Central Park Road Residence “unadorned and honest.

“The interiors celebrate the beauty of imperfection. There are no embellishments, no overworked decoration,” it says.

Not wanting to detract from the open plan, the studio kept the partitions to a minimum, adding a floor-to-ceiling black volume with integrated cupboards to the kitchen along with a wooden breakfast island.

In the living room, a new fireplace with metre-high steel flue serves as centrepiece alongside tan-leather armchairs, timber side-tables, a woven floor rug and Louis Poulsen’s signature PH Artichoke pendant lamp.

Another full-height storage volume serves as headboard in the master bedroom suite.

“In our client’s eyes, the value of this rennovation lies not just in its function and the shelter it provides, but because we have been able to repurpose an existing home and conserve the heart and soul of the forgotten,” studiofour says.

“The home is light filled with fresh air and aspect, yet there is an inner truth and stillness to the spaces that produces calm and a certain mindfulness.”

studiofour is led by directors Annabelle Berryman and Sarah Henry. The Melbourne studio was shortlisted for a Houses award for House Alteration & Addition over 200m2 in 2019 for the Central Park Road Residence.

It isn’t the only studio to pair a charcoal grey exterior with light timbers. A similar contrast featured in Simone Haag and Andrew Simpson Architects’ Fitzroy villa and this Brisbane workers cottage from bureau^proberts.

Photography: Shannon McGrath.

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