Built in the quiet streets of Melbourne’s South East, The Malvern East house by Preston Lane considers the needs of the family first.
After reorganising the existing rooms in the original section of the house, the extension is compiled of a series of connected, flexible living spaces, that offer diverse use by the clients and their kids. Anchored around the new kitchen, adjoining a living room for the adults and a play space for the kids, this new extension feel simultaneously open and delineated.
A nearly four-metre high raised timber clad ceiling over the central dining area provides ‘a deliberate sense of weight within the large volume,’ explains Nathaneal Preston, co-director of Preston Lane. Living spaces throughout the home are further defined by changes in both ceiling height and floor levels, and at the rear of the home, north-facing walls and doors completely open up to a deck, garden and swimming pool.
As well as the purely practical elements of the design, the architects have given careful consideration to little ‘easter eggs’ found throughout the house! Enter the new en suite, and bathe under natural light thanks to a sloped glass roof above the shower, or slide open the door connecting the kids’ play area to find it carpeted in sage green, ‘alluding to an internal lawn’, explains Nathaneal. It’s those little, unexpected elements that provide daily moments of joy.
Hearing of the surprising ways the family have engaged with their dream home has been one of the most satisfying parts of the job for Nathaneal. A few weeks after moving in, the clients sent him a photo of their girls putting on a performance on top of the built-in seat at the end of the living room. ‘We had never conceived this seat as an opportunity for a stage’, Nathaneal says, ‘the unexpected ways that clients and often their children might use the space and details we create are a delight.’ On with the show!