Polished and practical, the extension of this Melbourne abode – one of three identical residences built at the turn of the century in the suburb of Armadale – is the work of Australian interior architecture practice Studio Tate. Initially enlisted to create bespoke joinery, the firm’s designer, Alex Hopkins, was quick to identify ways the home could work harder for its owners. Drawing on a long-standing friendship with the clients, she set about reconfiguring its layout to better serve the needs of the couple and their three teenage children. Her aim was to give everyone space for themselves, while also creating areas that would bring them together.
The heart of the four-bedroom home is now a sleek eat-in kitchen, which is linked, via a striking glass walkway, to a newly created living and dining space within the former stable block. ‘The layout has been designed with two dining experiences in mind,’ explains Alex. ‘The main table is for when the whole family has time to sit down for a leisurely meal, while the extended island bench creates a natural place to grab a quick bite and gather at the end of a busy day.’ Framed by floor-to-ceiling steel-framed windows, it’s an airy and incredibly inviting central space that has a strong connection with the outdoors.
This addition could have looked out of place beside what Alex refers to as the ‘distinct sense of formality’ of the property’s period architecture, from its stately façade and grand entry hall to its elaborate ceiling mouldings. Thanks to a fresh, restrained monochrome palette, however, there’s a pleasing symmetry to the old and new elements in this home.
The whole interior, despite its modernity, is underpinned by references to the building’s history. These can be seen in the subtlest of touches, such as the way the furniture and the curated art collection picks up accent colours from the original stained-glass windows. ‘I like to think we managed to respectfully balance heritage features with a contemporary vision, while truly transforming how this family lives,’ concludes Alex. Elegant yet functional, linked to nature and the past, this really is a metamorphosis to be marvelled at. studiotate.com.au
For the full house tour see ELLE Decoration May 2020
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