One of the things we love about Melbourne is the wealth of stunning Victorian architecture - from grand exhibition buildings to small terraced cottages.
This house is part of that tradition, but has been given a new chapter through a successful renovation which artfully marries the old with the new.
The 'Malvern House' design by architects Robson Rak has received recognition by it's inclusion in the shortlist for the 2015 Australian Interior Design Awards.
Robson Rak Architects aim to design spaces that imbue warmth and well-being "nourishing the user for years to come" and this Malvern House certainly embodies that with it's sensitive restoration of the original features (the facade was stripped back to reveal the original brickwork) alongside the use of key materials in the new elements.
We can sense the continuity between the two parts of the house - the timber flooring in the original sections are referenced by utilising timber in the new living area on the wall, whilst the brick exterior is also replicated in the feature fireplace that you can see at the end of the hallway.
However, whilst the transition between old and new is harmonious - you also want to create a sense of difference - to celebrate the benefits of a contemporary renovation. This is achieved by dropping the floor level of the new section whilst maintaining the ceiling height of the old - the fact you step down into this area which has a lofty sense of space marks a detachment from the original building. This is also emphasised by the strong connection this space has with the garden with large bifold doors opening from the kitchen to the terrace and pool area.
The winning formula of timber, concrete polished floor, white cabinetry with black accents gives the kitchen both a contemporary and yet timeless appeal. Incidentally - how fantastic is that black over-head light above the bench?!
The period features are celebrated here with the bedroom not needing any superficial adornment. The challenge for the architects was how to incorporate high-tech features in a period property - so the home is also a master of disguise concealing speakers, powerpoints and screens as much as possible.
We are such die-hard fans of wallpaper and have recently used it in a similar study space on one of our projects - the charm of the wallpaper used here acts both to soften and contrast with the linear elements of the joinery.
We're fairly confident that Robson Rak have delivered on their promise to create architecture that 'nourishes the user' and love the way that the old Victorian home has been made as relevant for the residents today as it was originally intended.
The Australian Interior Design Awards are announced on 15 May - we will keep you posted.