A 1960s Portsea Shack Gets A Contemporary Revamp

Updating a mid century home is always a delicate challenge. How much to retain? How much to change? And, how to enhance modern functionality, without losing that unmistakeable MCM charm.

This exemplary home in Portsea on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula shows us how its done! We chat with Berit Barton from Pleysier Perkins architects about transforming a ‘tired beige’ shack into a light and bright getaway, that balances mid-century charm with modern family life.

Miriam McGarry

The Portsea House by Pleysier Perkins architects tips its hat to its mid-century roots. Photo – Michael Kai.

An outside nook at the Portsea House. Photo – Michael Kai.

A corner of the living room. Photo – Michael Kai.

New windows in the lounge room offer a view out to the garden. Photo – Michael Kai.

Clever divisions in open plan living. Photo – Michael Kai.

An island bench was introduced to the kitchen to redirect the flow. Photo – Michael Kai.

The new home is filled with light. Photo – Michael Kai.

Kitchen details. Photo – Michael Kai.

A beach house must-have for sandy feet! Photo – Michael Kai.

Perfect Portsea living. Photo – Michael Kai.

Miriam McGarry
7th of March 2019

After initially working with the clients on the city dwelling, Pleysier Perkins architects were excited to jump back on board and revamp the family’s coastal getaway. The 1960s mid-century shack was full of charm, but studio director Berit Barton explains that the kitchen, dining, and living area required improved spatial flow, and the entire property was ready for a minor facelift.

The architects introduced an island to the kitchen to re-direct the flow, and opened up the kitchen and lounge room with new windows that offer views to the garden. Berit highlights how the new addition of a playroom/lounge ‘created much-needed space to take the pressure off the existing living room, while also creating a new connection between the front and rear of the house.’ The full-height doors at both ends of this new addition connect the space with the outdoors, and this blurring of boundaries is enhanced by crazy pavers (yes, they are a real thing!) that commence inside the home, and gently lead you out to the grassy outdoor areas.

The ‘mid-century charm’ of the beach-side property has been enhanced by joinery and lighting updates that Berit describes as giving a ‘respectful nod to the original era of the house.’ This tip of the mid-century hat is also evident in the new colour scheme; dated beige has been replaced with 70s-inspired terrazzo bench tops, solid local hardwood, glazed coloured tiles, and blue painted weatherboards. These additions enhanced the existing lattice steel trusses and white timber windows, as well as the client’s own collection of vintage modernist furniture. Relaxed beachside chic at its best!


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