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

Food

Alice & Marlon's Simple Ginger Sauerkraut

Wholesome recipes for preserving, pickling and fermenting, from our very own Alice Johnson!
Alice Johnson

News

An Australian Christmas Story Takes Over Fed Square

Beci Orpin illustrates a distinctly Australian Christmas story in collaboration with creative film producers General Strike.
Sally Tabart

News

A Sustainable Collection Of Objects 'For Gardening' By Australian Designers

Sarah K and Bree Claffey react to the scale of mass production that pervades our modern world.

Travel

A Stay At Mitchelton Hotel, Nagambie (+ Giveaway!)

Lucy's review of Victoria's newest boutique hotel, designed by Hecker Guthrie – and your opportunity to WIN a stay!

Architecture

A Home That Balances Mid-Century And Modern

Hindley & Co architects bring mid-century design into the 21st century with elegance and restraint, in Newtown, Victoria.
Miriam McGarry

Every Painting Tells A Story

Uncovering The Hidden Symbolism In NGA's New Blockbuster: 'Love & Desire'

Our collaboration with National Gallery of Australia, celebrating their incredible new exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces from London...

Gardens

A Perfect Family Garden In Camberwell

Not overdone, nor too sparing, tour an outdoor oasis designed by Ian Barker in Camberwell - and it’s only two years old!
Georgina Reid

Small Business

Knowing When To Call In The Experts, According To KeepCup

This Melbourne-born business has taken the world by storm, but they haven't gone it alone.
Fiona Killackey

Art

An Exhibition of Modernist Suburban Homes, Painted In Brilliant Detail

Artist Robyn Sweaney looks back to the modernist homes of the 1960s, in a new exhibition at Arthouse Gallery in Sydney.

Architecture

A Mornington Peninsula Home That Goes Back To Basics

A home designed for entertaining – The First Lessons House by Ray Dinh Architecture, in Portsea.

News

A Zen Group Show In Sydney

Saint Cloche gallery celebrates the feeling of home with CASA, an end-of-year group exhibition.
Sally Tabart

News

Frida Kahlo In Bendigo

An exclusive exhibition drawing on the archives of Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s former home, comes to Bendigo Art Gallery.
Elle Murrell

Interiors

Inside Mona's New 'Evil-Billionaire's-Lair-Themed' Ferry

The Museum of Old and New Art’s lavish new catamaran will hit the water this weekend.
Elle Murrell

Homes

The Sleekest Apartment In West Brunswick

Explore the exacting apartment of photographer Sean Fennessy and stylist Jess Lillico.

Indigenous Art

A Joyful Exhibition Featuring Some Of Australia's Most Talented Indigenous Artists

A group exhibition and celebration of Australia's first Indigenous owned and operated gallery.

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

Art

An Exhibition of Modernist Suburban Homes, Painted In Brilliant Detail

Artist Robyn Sweaney looks back to the modernist homes of the 1960s, in a new exhibition at Arthouse Gallery in Sydney.

News

Frida Kahlo In Bendigo

An exclusive exhibition drawing on the archives of Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s former home, comes to Bendigo Art Gallery.
Elle Murrell

Food

Alice & Marlon's Simple Ginger Sauerkraut

Wholesome recipes for preserving, pickling and fermenting, from our very own Alice Johnson!
Alice Johnson

Travel

A Stay At Mitchelton Hotel, Nagambie (+ Giveaway!)

Lucy's review of Victoria's newest boutique hotel, designed by Hecker Guthrie – and your opportunity to WIN a stay!

Indigenous Art

A Joyful Exhibition Featuring Some Of Australia's Most Talented Indigenous Artists

A group exhibition and celebration of Australia's first Indigenous owned and operated gallery.

News

A Zen Group Show In Sydney

Saint Cloche gallery celebrates the feeling of home with CASA, an end-of-year group exhibition.
Sally Tabart

Small Business

Knowing When To Call In The Experts, According To KeepCup

This Melbourne-born business has taken the world by storm, but they haven't gone it alone.
Fiona Killackey

Gardens

A Perfect Family Garden In Camberwell

Not overdone, nor too sparing, tour an outdoor oasis designed by Ian Barker in Camberwell - and it’s only two years old!
Georgina Reid

News

A Sustainable Collection Of Objects 'For Gardening' By Australian Designers

Sarah K and Bree Claffey react to the scale of mass production that pervades our modern world.

Architecture

A Mornington Peninsula Home That Goes Back To Basics

A home designed for entertaining – The First Lessons House by Ray Dinh Architecture, in Portsea.

Homes

The Sleekest Apartment In West Brunswick

Explore the exacting apartment of photographer Sean Fennessy and stylist Jess Lillico.

Every Painting Tells A Story

Uncovering The Hidden Symbolism In NGA's New Blockbuster: 'Love & Desire'

Our collaboration with National Gallery of Australia, celebrating their incredible new exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces from London...

News

An Australian Christmas Story Takes Over Fed Square

Beci Orpin illustrates a distinctly Australian Christmas story in collaboration with creative film producers General Strike.
Sally Tabart

Architecture

A Home That Balances Mid-Century And Modern

Hindley & Co architects bring mid-century design into the 21st century with elegance and restraint, in Newtown, Victoria.
Miriam McGarry

Interiors

Inside Mona's New 'Evil-Billionaire's-Lair-Themed' Ferry

The Museum of Old and New Art’s lavish new catamaran will hit the water this weekend.
Elle Murrell

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.