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The Spanish Mission House For An Old Amigo!

Architecture

Spanish Mission houses emerged as a popular style in the early 1900s in California, as a revival of the vernacular architecture of colonial Spanish architecture. The aesthetic is typified by arches (doorways, gates, windows), timber shutters, internal courtyards and stucco render – and later became popular in Australia.

Today we chat with Pete Kennon of Kennon Architecture about transforming a 1926 Spanish Mission home in Melbourne into a sophisticated and playful space. Pete has been friends with the client for over 20 years, and designed the home to suit the owner’s vibrant art collection.

13th June, 2019

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Photo – Caitlin Mills.

Miriam McGarry
Thursday 13th June 2019

It isn’t often that a client brief is framed in the context of a 20-year friendship! For Pete Kennon, of Kennon Architecture, the Spanish Mission House was an opportunity to work with an old school mate, which provided a ‘deep understanding of the client, their personality, past, and how they like to live.’

This strong connection is evident in the final outcome of the renovated home, where Pete created a space that would provide a quiet environment for the client’s own treasured art collection. The architect explains ‘the works are colourful, busy and portray a thoughtful chaos. When designing the interiors, I purposely reduced the colour in the materials to allow for the paintings to take centre place.’

Pete worked to retain the intricate cornicing, metal detailing and Spanish terrazzo tiles in the entry portico of the original 1926 home, while undertaking a major renovation on the ‘dark and damp small rooms.’ The architect describes how the property was in ‘very poor condition’ when the client purchased it, but that there was a desire to retain the ‘delicate charm’ of the Spanish Mission house style.

Pete highlights ‘the intention with this project was to keep this light-hearted playfulness to it, whilst stripping back the complication of the awkward living arrangements and floor plan.’ Interior walls were removed and new structural elements were introduced to open up the living rooms, all on a tight budget. The end result frames the home around the kitchen and living spaces, and Pete describes ‘the dining table has interestingly become the central element to the house.’

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