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An Art Lovers' Updated Mid-Century Home

Architecture

Designed by architect C.C. Sainsbury in 1957, this Melbourne home has been transformed for a modern family.

The sensitive extension by Foomann Architects adds bedrooms, a new kitchen, laundry, plus more storage and space for showcasing art (a necessity with which we can definitely relate!!).

4th September, 2018

The Ormond residence was designed by architect C.C. Sainsbury in 1957. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit. Styling – Esme Parker. Curation – Clark Art.

Corten has been utilised to tie the addition in with the existing timber and brick exterior. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit. Styling – Esme Parker. Curation – Clark Art.

Inside the family’s house, which was originally a war-services home. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit. Styling – Esme Parker. Curation – Clark Art.

Original 50’s entrance. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit. Styling – Esme Parker. Curation – Clark Art.

The new kitchen. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit. Styling – Esme Parker. Curation – Clark Art.

The update set out to better showcase the family’s amazing art collection. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit. Styling – Esme Parker. Curation – Clark Art.

The stair window perfectly frames the neighbour’s silver birch tree. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit. Styling – Esme Parker. Curation – Clark Art.

New staircase details. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit. Styling – Esme Parker. Curation – Clark Art.

The renovation added two kids’ bedrooms. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit. Styling – Esme Parker. Curation – Clark Art.

Light comes in where the ceiling angles intersect. Photo – Willem-Dirk du Toit. Styling – Esme Parker. Curation – Clark Art.

Elle Murrell
Tuesday 4th September 2018

‘This design is modernist and exuberant’. – Jamie Sormann, Fooman Architects.

Meet ‘Ruby’ (as this dreamy Mid-Century home on Ruby Street is affectionately known). Designed by architect C.C. Sainsbury and built in 1957, this year the family home received the most elegant of updates from Melbourne’s Foomann Architects.

‘Our research into war-services homes, which this is one of, revealed a mix of options typically more conservative than Ruby,’ tells co-director Jo Foong. ‘This design is modernist and exuberant; which is both a reflection of the first owner and our current clients,’ chimes in co-director Jamie Sormann.

The home now comprises a new building of two different heights, though both complement the angle of the existing roof. Robust Corten, with its ‘rusted’ finish, has been utilised to tie the addition in with the rich timber and brick of the original exterior. Inside, the home’s new varying volumes make for dynamic spaces, especially where ceilings join and triangular windows draw in light.

Architects Jo and Jamie spent time hanging out with clients Amanda and Ben Clark of Clark Art to help gain an understanding of their tastes and personalities – which energised the entire process. ‘They had no preconceived solutions and challenged us to be bold and surprising in our design approach,’ recalls Jamie.

For the clients, this renovation was centred on gaining space (bedrooms for their two kids), a new kitchen, laundry and more storage, as well as better showcasing their beautiful art collection and extensive library of books.

The resultant stair and associated joinery solutions have achieved those aims to spectacular effect. ‘This insertion solves a lot of the brief; it displays small sculpture and books while concealing storage and a laundry. It’s a complicated 3D puzzle and the proudest we’ve ever been of a laundry!’ details architect Jo.

Foomann called on frequent collaborators Fido Projects as builders. Their greatest challenge was intertwined with the project’s major highlight – accommodating all the quirks of this distinctive 1950’s house! ‘It’s nice to work with a building that was designed in a modernist spirit; however, the raked forms and deep eaves were a challenging foundation for a first-floor extension,’ says Jamie. ‘Our approach took time to evolve,’ adds Jo, ‘We are pleased with the overall composition created by our new forms, and the dynamic internal spaces they provide’.

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