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A Sophisticated New Look For An 80s Gem

Architecture

The 1980s were a time of bold shapes (hello shoulder pads) and exuberance (hello blue eye shadow), and the initial design of this home was no exception to these hallmarks of the era.

We chat with Emma Templeton of Templeton Architecture about transforming the Elissa House from a bold 80s classic, to an elegant, contemporary home.

11th March, 2019

Templeton Architecture‘s Elissa House. Photo – Duncan Jacob.

Photo – Duncan Jacob.

Photo – Duncan Jacob.

Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Photo – Duncan Jacob.

Photo – Duncan Jacob.

Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Photo – Duncan Jacob.

Photo – Duncan Jacob.

Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Miriam McGarry
Monday 11th March 2019

When Emma Templeton of Templeton Architecture first visited this 1980s home, she was struck by the strong geometric volumes and ‘somewhat overstated language of the period’. Nevertheless, she could instantly see the appeal of this home, viewing its bold shapes and generous proportions as ‘clearly reflecting the optimism of the exuberant period’. The bold and the beautiful, architecture edition!

The clients wished to polish this 80s swagger into a more liveable environment – to retain the best aspects of the original home, whilst also increasing the natural light, and building better connections between the home’s expansive spaces. Emma describes the process as an embracing the original magic of the era, while adding a layer of elegance.

The design process began with a considered and deliberate editing process, to examine how to retain the best features and revamp them for modern living. Emma and her team protected those elements that ‘had remained timeless and beautiful’ and worked hard to disguise others.

To make the house more liveable, the architects worked with structural engineers to remove oversized concrete columns, but retained key original features, such as the sunken living room. This space has been made to feel rich and luxurious, with warm carpet and clever styling.

A double-height glass void offers a sunny centre for family living, and floods the home with shifting morning light. Meanwhile, the kitchen and dining room are updated with considered material selection and sleek lighting design. These new additions provide a modern and relevant intervention to the home, that Emma describes as a maturing of the property, where the house ‘dresses its age.’

The landscaping and outdoor spaces were treated with equal enthusiasm, and with the help of Sophie McLean Design and Lindsay Mates, a unique plan with distinct zones was created. The internal courtyard is a reclaimed parking area, and the free-standing fire-place and pizza oven bring a brutalist grit to its glassy enclosure. A hint of nostalgic 80s charm, in this thoroughly modern renovation.

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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