Enhancing The Past In Studley Park

This mid-century home in Melbourne’s Studley Park was originally designed by influential Russian-born Australian architect Anatol Kagan – who was committed to designing buildings that had a positive impact on society. 

The 1950s family home has recently received a sympathetic, contemporary renovation from Kennedy Nolan, who refreshed the architectural beauty of the property, while rezoning the layout to reflect a contemporary mode of living. The aesthetics of the past, reformatted for modern life!

Miriam McGarry
Supports The Design Files

Welcome to the Kagan House, renovated by Kennedy Nolan, and built by Weiss Builders. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A 1950s kitchen retains its identity, but has enhanced connection to the garden outside. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

1950s post-war austerity colours shine in the kitchen. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

1950s windows, meet a contemporary couch. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Soft draping curtains are drawn back to reveal the leafy outdoors. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Muted tones will considered pops of colour in the living area. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A room with a view. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A cosy bedroom corner. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A relaxed window seat. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Mid-century aesthetics, with contemporary flow and zoning of spaces. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The renovation encourages new connections to the outdoors. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Looking stately, in Studley park. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Miriam McGarry
29th of August 2019

This renovation by Kennedy Nolan takes a gentle but decisive touch in transforming a historic home by architect Anatol Kagan in Studley Park, Kew. The owners of the 1950s home had a deep appreciation of the original architect’s vision, and valued the home’s architectural and historic value. However, having lived in the property for several years, they ‘were also aware of its eccentricities and limitations’ and were keen to match its nostalgic charm with contemporary liveability.

Kennedy Nolan approached this renovation with a desire to preserve the beauty of the original design, while also updating the space to reflect a contemporary mode of living. 

The first step for the architects was to research Anatol Kagan’s work, and then remove the additions that had changed the identity of the home over the years, ‘to reveal the original intention of the design.’ While the beauty of the home was something the clients and architects wished to retain, the layout was ‘eccentric and strangely inefficient.’ Kennedy Nolan carefully adapted the zoning and circulation, and increased the connection between the home and the garden. 

Aesthetically, the renovations took inspiration from Melbourne modernism, translated into a contemporary form. The colours, material and details capture the restrained mood of post-war austerity. The green kitchen offers a nod to the era of  ‘Mad Men’, while remaining firmly rooted in Melbourne now – a feat that earned The Kagan House a commendation in the 2019 Dulux Colour Awards. Interior elements, including the study shelving that was specified by the original commissioning Bell family were retained and restored. 

The final move was to emphasise the link between the indoor and outdoor spaces, without overriding the original 1950s design, which emphasised clearly delineated zones. At the front of the home, the terrace was expanded to create a welcoming space and a connection between the front yard and the home. The best of the past, re-configured for the now. 

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