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A New Lease On Life For A 1960s Holiday Home

Architecture

Sometimes, a house requires a massive renovation to bring it to life. Other times, it takes minimal intervention to completely transform an existing space.

Such is the case with the Dark Light House by MRTN Architects, a simple, spacious addition that has reinvigorated an original 1960s family holiday home on the Mornington Peninsula.

21st June, 2018

The exterior of MRTN Architect’s extension to an original 1960s holiday home in Rye. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

The play of light and dark was important to Antony in the design of this extension. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

A primary criteria specified by the owners was to have ample access to the garden. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

Floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors seamlessly integrate indoor/outdoor living. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

Shadow play in the living room. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

While in great condition, the original home lacked living space, and good connections to the garden that the family required. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

As Antony puts it, the new addition ‘is an example of the total being greater than the sum of the parts.’ Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

Timber was used heavily as a design feature in the Mornington Peninsula holiday home. Photo – Tatjana Plitt.

Sally Tabart
Thursday 21st June 2018

It’s always great to come across people who appreciate these homes as they are.’ Antony Martin, MRTN Architects. 

Built in the 1960s, this house in Rye is one of the last examples of the original style in the area. ‘The owners were very concerned about making substantial changes to what was a very intact example of a late modernist home,’ says Antony Martin, director of MRTN Architects. While in great condition, the original home lacked living space, and good connections to the garden that the family required.

As Antony puts it, the new addition ‘is an example of the total being greater than the sum of the parts.’ Though the footprint of the new space is relatively small, the entire house is reimagined. Timber has been used as a major design feature in the ceiling and panelled walls, giving a nod to the surrounding natural environment. Seamless indoor-outdoor living is integrated through vast floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows, giving the owners the opportunity to completely open the house up in the warmer months. 

The play between light and dark was important to Antony’s thoughtfully considered design. A sliding, timber-shuttered wall provides a key design feature, throwing slatted light across the kitchen and living areas throughout the day. 

With many examples of original mid-century architecture being demolished in favour of modern designs with ‘little merit’, Antony was thrilled to work with a client with an appreciation for the cultural and historic value of the gem they were sitting on. ‘It’s always great to come across people who appreciate these homes as they are… making relatively minor changes to suit contemporary family life’, he says, ‘…if anything, it makes them appreciate the original house even more!’.

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