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A Lovingly Restored 1960s 'Sibbel House' In Melbourne’s North East

Homes

You would expect an architects’ own home to be a bold, contemporary showcase of their signature aesthetic. But that’s not exactly Ramon Pleysier’s style.

The celebrated architect and director at Pleysier Perkins has instead delighted in restoring a late 1960’s home in Templestowe Lower over the past seven years, alongside his partner Emily and their four children Gabrielle (10), Angelique (8) and twins Vivienne and Hugo (6½).

21st February, 2018

The external facade of the Templestowe Lower home of architect Ramon Pleysier of Pleysier Perkins, his wife Emily and their four kids. Lush garden landscaping by Matt Walsham Landscape Architecture. Photo – Michael Kai.

The front entry to the family home, with a Cosh Living Riviera deck chair out the front. The external paint is ‘Domino’ by Dulux. Photo – Michael Kai.

View out of the front living room window, with an Angelucci slimline lounge, Parker side table, Tolomeo Basculante reading floor lamp and art by Jayden Pleysier. Photo – Michael Kai.

A cosy corner of the living room featuring a mid-century retro, black enamel freestanding cone fireplace,  Angelucci slimline lounge, artworks by ADi,  Oliver Perkins and half of the canvas  ‘Shoes’ by Geoff La Gerche. Photo – Michael Kai.

Full view of the living/family room, with plenty of charm and character! Angelucci Danish sideboard and slimline lounge, Eames moulded plywood lounge chair (LCW) from Luke Furniture. Art from left to right:  ‘Sign’ by Brett Coelho, ‘Shoes’ by Geoff La Gerche, others art by artists including ADi and Oliver Perkins. Photo – Michael Kai.

The art-filled front vestibule through to the dining room and kitchen. The storage unit is Borge Mogensen via Angelucci, Parker timber chair, artworks on the walls are by artists including Chloe Vallance, Mike Chavez, Datsun Tran, Oliver Perkins, William Breen, Sophia Szilagyi, Twoone, Geoffrey Richardo and more. Photo – Michael Kai.

Entry to the Sibbel House with a Hans Wegner plank chair from Angelucci and vintage side table. Artwork includes ‘Cars’ by Mike Chavez, ‘Mask’ by Dion Horstmans and paintings on plywood by Chloe Vallance. Photo – Michael Kai.

The view from the kitchen and dining room, looking back towards the entry. Eames ‘Hang It All’ coat hook from Herman Miller via Living Edge, and those Eames moulded plywood dining chairs. Photo – Michael Kai.

Ramon at home in the kitchen, which is ORIGINAL. ‘Sibbel builders had a reputation for the quality of their cabinetry and it all still works beautifully,’ says Ramon. All surfaces have been restored, including the slate floor. Photo – Michael Kai.

The pergola and inner courtyard. Photo – Michael Kai.

Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 21st February 2018

‘I would hope that the original designers could walk through and feel no detrimental impact to their original design philosophy.’ – Ramon Pleysier.

Ramon Pleysier of Pleysier Perkins isn’t one for architectural jargon. In fact, he is refreshingly matter of fact, and particularly so when discussing how his family came to discover their much loved house. ‘We basically had more kids than we were planning on, so decided that we needed to head back to where I grew up,’ the architect says. After looking for a very long time for something with ‘architectural interest’, this robust, characterful 1960s home came across his path. After the first open inspection, he was smitten. ‘I couldn’t miss this one,’ he recalls. ‘I loved it as soon as I walked in the front door!’

The house, situated in Melbourne’s North Eastern suburb of Templestowe Lower, was built in 1969 by Sibbel builders. ‘I guess it gets thrown into the mid-century modernist bucket,’ Ramon says. ‘Sibbel were a very well respected company around the time of Merchant Builders and Alistair Knox in the area… I assume they were all very healthy competition for each other!’

For Ramon, this is a restoration project. The designer has been careful to ensure no ‘modern-day trends’ have crept into his design response here, instead, he has been committed to delivering a subtle, sensitive upgrade to the original building. All surfaces have been carefully restored, rather than replaced. ‘I would hope that the original designers could walk through and feel no detrimental impact to their original design philosophy,’ he says.

Overall, Ramon, Emily and the kids really value their relaxed, well-designed home, and as an architect, Ramon is especially respectful of the legacy passed on here.

‘I feel a strong sense of responsibility to “do the right thing” to this house,’ Ramon says. ‘Many houses like this have made way for McMansions and duplexs, so I feel very fortunate to act as a custodian of Sibbel’s fine work. I’ve been asked many times, “Why don’t you want to design your own home”… Good question. I like old things, things that have lasted because they are “good”. I have plenty of opportunities to inflict my design ideas on projects – this just isn’t one of them!’

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