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Mid Century Meets Modern, In This Thoughtfully Renovated 1960s Home

Architecture

George Santayana wrote ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’.

For Jade Vidal, co-director of Bower Architecture and Interiors, renovations to modernist homes present an opportunity to learn from the past, and build for the future. He describes his firm’s renovation of this grand 1960’s home in Caulfield as ‘New Modern’ – we think it’s a brilliant balance of mid-century ideals, and contemporary design.

24th October, 2019

The New Modern home in Caulfield by Bower Architecture and Interiors, Cosgrave Constructions, Meyer Consulting and Eckersley Garden Architecture. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

The exterior maintains its strong 1960s facade. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

At home with owners John and Ravit Walys. Artwork by Wilma Tabacco from Gallerysmith. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim

A generous living space centers the renovated space. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

Clean mid-century lines, re-imagined for now. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

Kitchen details. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

Natural light floods the living spaces. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

Rich interiors get the pooch approval. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

Contemporary art in a newly contemporary home. Artwork by Carlos Barrios from Metro Gallery. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

Plenty of room for entertaining. Artwork by Junko Go from Gallerysmith. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

A library with some very comfortable mid-century seats for reading. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

Sleek views! Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

The new century vibe! Artwork by Wilma Tabacco from Gallerysmith.hoto – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

Cool blue colours. artwork by Jean Gaya. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

A classic mid-century fireplace gets a modern update. Sculpture by Camie Lyons. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

Welcome to new modern! Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

A strong exterior that has stood the test of time. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Styling – Swee Lim.

Miriam McGarry
Thursday 24th October 2019

‘Hints of whimsy and glamour (but not glitz)’ – Jade Vidal.

When Jade Vidal, co-director of Bower Architecture and Interiors, first encountered this 1960s home in Caulfield, he was struck by the mid-century aesthetic, but could see the need to bring the 20th century past into a 21st century now. The brief was to rediscover and celebrate the home’s original features, and create additional spaces with ‘hints of whimsy and glamour (but not glitz).’ A balance of bringing the past to life, while imagining the future.

Externally, the home maintains its mid-century appearance, and as you walk through the Eckersley Garden Architecture designed front garden, you arrive at the new white geometric screening that references the homes’ original metalwork. Inside, the palette reflects the original materials of the construction era with timber, stone, and glimpses of 60s wallpaper. Jade explains the approach as one of ‘stitching together the old and new, so that a consistent thread was maintained throughout, with both bold and restrained gestures that, when experienced together, felt right.’

The layout has been reimagined to create a kids’ level, with two bedrooms, a family bathroom and retreat, which allows for modern living without dismantling the original frontage.

For the architects, this project was an opportunity to demonstrate the potential of a heritage renovation that builds upon the past, rather than replicating it. The renovations also encourage a strong relationship between the landscape, as part of daily life, as traditionally, mid-century architecture demarcated these zones.

The clients also played a key role in this renovation, working with Bower to select classic modernist furniture to bring a rich final layer to the interior spaces.

From the generous living space to the secret powder room, every aspect of this project considers how to marry the past, present and future. The result? A resolved family home that feels simply like it was ‘meant to be.’

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