Heritage Bones Meets Modern Minimalism In This Inner City Terrace

For architect Rob Kennon, small footprint homes offer an opportunity for stream-lining, without forfeiting any quality of life.

This Fitzroy North heritage renovation is all about living large with less – or in Rob’s words ‘not getting rid of everything, but having space for it.’  A minimalist, inner city home that proves the functions and generosity of a large home can be recreated, on any footprint!

Miriam McGarry
Supports The Design Files

Welcome to the Fitzroy North home by Rob Kennon. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A small home, with all of the amenity of a large house. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Clever joinery and an outwards facing kitchen bench creates space and connection. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The kitchen bench overlooks the family dining table. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A natural palette, with textures that create intruige, and negate the need for ‘knick knacks’ on the bench. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Sink into this space. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The design encourages a connection between indoor and outdoor living. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The void space welcomes natural light into the south facing residence. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The step down into the living space follows the natural terrain of the landscape. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Making the absolute most of a narrow floor plan. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A minimal, functional and serene bathroom. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Shadow dance. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

This ‘renovation’ was essentially a new build, with only the front facade and chimney remaining. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Backyard ready for afternoon drinks. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Miriam McGarry
30th of July 2019

When architect Rob Kennon first visited this heritage terrace house, it became clear that this ‘renovation’ was going to be almost an entirely new build. All that remains of the single-fronted Victorian home is the brick facade and chimney – on a relatively tight Fitzroy North block.

Rob explains that, somewhat uncharacteristically for a terrace, there was a precedent for height on one boundary of the property, which allowed for a double storey design. The south facing site and small footprint required careful consideration and some creative ideas, to allow natural light into the home, and provide full amenity for the family.

The home’s layout provides discreet zones for different activities, without feeling cloistered or closed off. The kitchen is designed to look outward towards the light filled living area, so the chef can be connected to dinner table conversations! Sleek joinery and concealed services maximise every available millimetre of space. Rob describes looking to Japanese and European high-density living as a reference point, where the goal isn’t getting rid of belongings to fit a minimalist aesthetic, but rather using design to ensure ‘space for living.’

The second-storey void space floods the living and dining areas downstairs with light, and provides a connection to the outdoors. The 3D moulded concrete floor plate of the kitchen steps down to follow the contours of the land.

The interiors and architecture have been designed as a cohesive whole, with a palette of natural materials providing texture and variation. Rob explains that in a small house, this approach means that minimal decoration is required, as the choice of materials and sleek internal detailing encourages a ‘pared back’ approach to styling – is his words, ‘knick-knacks aren’t necessary.’

This home is all about living large with less – where all of the functions and generosity of a large home are recreated on a smaller footprint. Everything you need for living, in one small and sleek package.

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