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Contemporary uses of concrete feature in this Melbourne family home

Inspired by recollections of a childhood home built by the owner’s father, this is a modern build with heart

scandizzo concrete family house in melbourne by kennon
Derek Swalwell

Subconsciously or not, so often the home we envision for ourselves stems from fond childhood experiences. This was certainly the case for Australian hair salon owner Joey Scandizzo and his wife, Jane, a former model, when they began to think about creating a new four-bedroom house in Melbourne’s upscale Toorak neighbourhood for their family of three young boys – Jagger, Jensen and Juke.

‘I spoke to them about the way they wanted to live, but also about the type of properties they grew up in,’ says architect Pete Kennon, founder of Kennon+, who spent two years working closely with the couple on the project.

scandizzo concrete family house in melbourne by kennon
Derek Swalwell

‘For Joey, his idea of home was informed by a space built by his father, largely made of concrete and hard surfaces, which had a real sense of permanence. We wanted to recreate the feel of that by using concrete in a very contemporary manner, as both the structure and the interior finish.’

Pete’s design sits in complementary contrast to the façade of the original Victorian house, which the couple decided to retain and have repainted in six different shades of white. As well as fulfilling a personal brief, the look of this new home was also defined by its narrow 10-metre-wide plot and strict planning restrictions that necessitated a pitched roof.

scandizzo concrete house in melbourne by kennon
Derek Swalwell

‘As guests walk towards the open-plan living, kitchen and dining area at the back, it becomes a double-height volume,’ explains Pete. Light floods in through a wall of floor-to-ceiling glass that faces the pool and garden beyond. Thanks also to the picture windows on the stairwells and skylights in the bathrooms, there is always a constant connection to nature – something that’s important to Jane, who grew up in nearby Mount Macedon, surrounded by lush greenery.

Throughout the house, neutral colours and natural materials – such as marble and stone – take their cue from the grey tones of the concrete. The exception is the bold, matt black kitchen units, which are paired with an island that extends to a table (‘We call it the “everything table” because it’s such a multi-functional part of their daily lives,’ smiles Pete).

scandizzo concrete house by kennon
Derek Swalwell

In the living area, a minimalist modern chimney matches the low sideboard, while pale wood floors, a wool rug and linen sofas soften the look. ‘The architecture is solid and masculine, whereas the furnishings draw out a more feminine aesthetic,’ says Pete.

The result is a pared-back property, but one that is a neat fit for family living. ‘Jane has mentioned how happy she is that there is enough space for three growing boys to enjoy life,’ adds Pete. The perfect setting then, for the next generation to form their own ideas about home. kennon.com.au

This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration September 2020

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