This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A Home With Two Personalities

Architecture

In her award-winning novel ‘How To Be Both’, author Ali Smith writes ‘beauty in its most completeness is never found in a single body, but is something shared instead between more than one body.’ While Ali was writing about an Italian Renaissance artist, the sentiment of separate identities coming together to create beauty is equally relevant today, and clearly evident in this architectural home!

We chat with architect Christopher Polly about designing the Binary House, a unique family home composed in two elegant parts.

15th November, 2018

The Binary House by Christopher Polly Architect. Photo – Brett Boardman.

The kitchen in the new addition. Photo – Brett Boardman.

The 60s yellow brick ‘front house’ belies the modern extension in the rear! Photo – Brett Boardman.

The clients considered expansive living and dining spaces a major priority in the new design. Photo – Brett Boardman.

Incredible connection between indoor/outdoor. Photo – Brett Boardman.

Demonstrating the differences between the two ‘personalities’ of the 60s original facade and the contemporary addition! Photo – Brett Boardman.

The double-height living areas offer a generous sense of space. Photo – Brett Boardman.

Seamless transition between the two distinct halves. Photo – Brett Boardman.

The bathroom in the new addition. Photo – Brett Boardman.

Another view of old vs new. Photo – Brett Boardman.

Miriam McGarry
Thursday 15th November 2018

The initial brief for this stunning home was to transform a small three-bedroom dwelling without a dining room, into a four-room house with generous living and dining space. Architect Christopher Polly explains how this vision shaped the inventive design of the property, which is composed in two elegant parts – resulting in a double design!

The Binary House maintains the original street façade and ‘front house’, before the 1960s yellow brick home opens into an expansive rear addition. Christopher describes the dual composition as ‘a cellular and private front to the street, with an open and public rear that expands to its landscape setting.’ Private/public, old/new, contained/expansive – this property explores multiple contrasts to create a cohesive whole!

Christopher highlights how the original bungalow connects to the new addition through a ‘sharply folding form’ that ‘unlocks’ the front hall, light-filled courtyards, and connects the private and public spaces within the home. The new two-story pavilion includes a double-height living area, and this generous space is flooded with light and connected to the garden with landscape views.

The materials in the house amplify the binary concept, while also binding the property together. The brickwork in the new pavilions echoes the original structure, ‘while its binary play of considered honey and grey tones strongly reference the exterior yellow brick and grey metal of the two distinct structures’ Christopher explains.

The home’s double identities are singularly aligned in promoting a strong connection to place and landscape. The building offers privacy from neighbours, while simultaneously encouraging engagement with the garden and courtyard spaces. Two strong design elements, one incredible home!

This Week

At Home With Sheridan

Interior Designer Brahman Perera + Restaurateur Jason M Jones’ Luxe Melbourne Terrace

The West Melbourne home of interior designer Brahman Perera, styled with personal heirlooms and luxury Sheridan bedding.

On The Market

A Mid-Century Masterpiece Hits The Market In North Warrandyte

The ‘Wright House’ has been named as one of Robin Boyd's most iconic designs, and it's for sale for the first time in over a decade!
Christina Karras

Architecture

This New Northcote Home Takes Its Cues From Italian Villages

Think of West Bend House — a new Northcote home designed by MRTN Architects with Brave New Eco — as an ‘inhabited pathway,’ inspired...

News

‘Open Mess’ Brings Together Art And Food For A Good Cause

Attend an ‘art feast for good’, featuring Melbourne’s best foodies across the art and hospitality industries, to raise mon...
Christina Karras

Travel

Lucy's Best Tassie Holiday Itinerary Ever!

Our editor Lucy Feagins shares the full itinerary from her recent family trip to Tasmania.
Lucy Feagins
  12 hours ago

Stays

Shop (Or Stay!) At Melbourne’s Latest Creative Concept Space, Ours Fitzroy

The new space is a shopfront, gallery, and unique accommodation space all-in-one, designed to showcase 'nice things'.
Christina Karras
  4 hours ago

Gardens

An Abundant Biodynamic Flower Farm Guided By The Cycles Of The Moon

An inside look at Alchemilla in the foothills of Victoria's Otways, where Phoebe East cultivates her organic farm by the lunar cycles!
Christina Karras

Architecture

An Architect’s Own Tranquil, Terrazzo-Filled Home

Melbourne architect Lisa Breeze is the master of taking unremarkable homes and making them unique - including her own family home in Northco...

News

DOMO Opens A Luxurious New Sydney Flagship Showroom

Sydneysiders have a new design destination to explore – and it’s been curated to help you find your dream furniture!
Sponsored

Travel

Eleanor Pendleton’s Guide To The NSW Central Coast

The best places to eat, drink and shop according to Gritty Pretty founder, beauty influencer and Central Coast local, Eleanor Pendleton!
Christina Karras

News

Wudjari Noongar Woman Leah Bennet’s New Cushion Range Celebrates Culture + Country

Interior and furniture designer Leah Bennet is championing First Nation’s creativity in the world of design!
Christina Karras

Architecture

Restoring A Mid-Century Apartment In Brisbane’s Famous Torbreck Building

A sympathetic renovation inside Brisbane’s heritage Torbreck building, brought back to life by Kin Architects and the owners.

News

Mark Your Calendars For Cult’s Massive Sale Of Designer Furniture

It’s the best time of the year to score huge savings on your favourite designer furniture pieces!
Sponsored

Homes

An Architecturally Superb Melbourne Home By Sean Godsell

The meticulously considered home of Mandy Wilton in South Yarra, renovated by Sean Godsell Architects.

Studio Visit

Chef Turned Ceramicist Claire Ellis’ Amazing, Experimental Practice

She got her start working as a chef at Attica, but has since developed a range of beautiful stoneware, with sustainability front of mind!
Christina Karras

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Home That Invites The Outside In

A 1920’s brick bungalow in Hobart gets a modern revamp by Archier.

Architecture

Extended And Updated In Albert Park

Tandem Studio works with the bones of a heritage listed house to create a contemporary solution for a young family.

Architecture

A House That Leans Into The Land

A clever design response to a challenging site in Ballarat by Moloney Architects.

This Week

Stays

Shop (Or Stay!) At Melbourne’s Latest Creative Concept Space, Ours Fitzroy

The new space is a shopfront, gallery, and unique accommodation space all-in-one, designed to showcase 'nice things'.
Christina Karras
  4 hours ago

News

‘Open Mess’ Brings Together Art And Food For A Good Cause

Attend an ‘art feast for good’, featuring Melbourne’s best foodies across the art and hospitality industries, to raise mon...
Christina Karras

News

DOMO Opens A Luxurious New Sydney Flagship Showroom

Sydneysiders have a new design destination to explore – and it’s been curated to help you find your dream furniture!
Sponsored

News

Mark Your Calendars For Cult’s Massive Sale Of Designer Furniture

It’s the best time of the year to score huge savings on your favourite designer furniture pieces!
Sponsored

Architecture

Restoring A Mid-Century Apartment In Brisbane’s Famous Torbreck Building

A sympathetic renovation inside Brisbane’s heritage Torbreck building, brought back to life by Kin Architects and the owners.

Architecture

This New Northcote Home Takes Its Cues From Italian Villages

Think of West Bend House — a new Northcote home designed by MRTN Architects with Brave New Eco — as an ‘inhabited pathway,’ inspired...

Gardens

An Abundant Biodynamic Flower Farm Guided By The Cycles Of The Moon

An inside look at Alchemilla in the foothills of Victoria's Otways, where Phoebe East cultivates her organic farm by the lunar cycles!
Christina Karras

Architecture

An Architect’s Own Tranquil, Terrazzo-Filled Home

Melbourne architect Lisa Breeze is the master of taking unremarkable homes and making them unique - including her own family home in Northco...

At Home With Sheridan

Interior Designer Brahman Perera + Restaurateur Jason M Jones’ Luxe Melbourne Terrace

The West Melbourne home of interior designer Brahman Perera, styled with personal heirlooms and luxury Sheridan bedding.

On The Market

A Mid-Century Masterpiece Hits The Market In North Warrandyte

The ‘Wright House’ has been named as one of Robin Boyd's most iconic designs, and it's for sale for the first time in over a decade!
Christina Karras

Studio Visit

Chef Turned Ceramicist Claire Ellis’ Amazing, Experimental Practice

She got her start working as a chef at Attica, but has since developed a range of beautiful stoneware, with sustainability front of mind!
Christina Karras

Travel

Lucy's Best Tassie Holiday Itinerary Ever!

Our editor Lucy Feagins shares the full itinerary from her recent family trip to Tasmania.
Lucy Feagins
  12 hours ago

Travel

Eleanor Pendleton’s Guide To The NSW Central Coast

The best places to eat, drink and shop according to Gritty Pretty founder, beauty influencer and Central Coast local, Eleanor Pendleton!
Christina Karras

Homes

An Architecturally Superb Melbourne Home By Sean Godsell

The meticulously considered home of Mandy Wilton in South Yarra, renovated by Sean Godsell Architects.

News

Wudjari Noongar Woman Leah Bennet’s New Cushion Range Celebrates Culture + Country

Interior and furniture designer Leah Bennet is championing First Nation’s creativity in the world of design!
Christina Karras

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Home That Invites The Outside In

A 1920’s brick bungalow in Hobart gets a modern revamp.

Architecture

Extended And Updated In Albert Park

Tandem Studio works with the bones of a heritage listed house to create a contemporary solution for a young family.

Architecture

A House That Leans Into The Land

A clever design response to a challenging site in Ballarat by Moloney Architects.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net