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A Future-Proof Family Home

Architecture

‘Renovation’ has become a somewhat frenzied lifestyle aspiration in Australia. With mainstream TV serving us renovation shows on repeat, and ‘re-sale value’ as the key focus, it’s easy to forget what a family home really should be.

Personally, we prefer homes designed for the long haul – homes intended to be lived in and loved for years to come, not flipped within twelve months.

Enter the ‘Belmont House’ by Kennedy Nolan – a inspired renovation in Kew, designed to support the shifting lives of a whole family, well into the future.

3rd November, 2018

A renovation by Kennedy Nolan Architects, in Kew. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Lucy Feagins
Saturday 3rd November 2018

‘Designing and delivering this house was a rare pleasure.’ – Patrick Kennedy, Kennedy Nolan.

The Belmont house in Kew was purchased by a ‘large, close family with a clear sense of themselves and their values’ architect Patrick Kennedy explains. The clients engaged Kennedy Nolan architects to renovate the home, and adapt it to the changing needs of their family, with a long-term view.

The joy of renovating this property largely came from the clarity of the brief, which Patrick explained ‘closely reflected the family’s values, preferences and quirks.’ The brief was also ‘unaffected by fashions’, instead focusing upon how to build a future-proof home for changing family needs. (Hurrah for avoiding trends and pursuing a home that suits you!)

Kennedy Nolan took this brief and ran with it, looking for ‘an architectural expression which would provide an armature for family life.’ In designing a house to support flexible living, the architects produced a plan that would ‘accommodate the family over time, resolving the changing requirements of privacy, independence and space.’

Design longevity is also apparent in the materials selections here. An emphasis has been placed on materials that will age gracefully over time. Warm timber sits against bold, robust floortiles the kitchen, and a wall of books in the hallway invites readers to sit and enjoy the cosy lounge room space. Patrick highlights how the renovations are designed to ‘support the arc of family life’ – a space that can adapt ‘for the long haul’ as the client’s needs shift over time.

Patrick describes the project as a true collaboration, and cites the intelligence of the client, builders Overland Constructions and landscape architect Amanda Oliver Gardens for the strength of the renovations. He explains ‘renovation has become a lifestyle aspiration in Australia’ but this house avoids the pitfalls of this model, by looking deep into the future. The clients placed ‘value’ at the heart of their brief, ‘in terms of the role of architecture in supporting domestic life, and making something beautiful and durable so that cost is understood in the context of the length of time.’ To us, the Belmont home is a ‘valuable’ house, in the truest sense of the word!

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