This free-standing double storey Art Deco house in St Kilda East was originally built in 1935, and the characteristics of this era still shine through. The curving bay windows and blackwood timber panelling are classic art deco elements, but so too were the dark and dysfunctional interior spaces. The owners had lived in the home for 25 years, and when their children had grown up and moved out, it was time to reconfigure the space to reflect a new stage in their life.
Architect Luke Fry considered how to transform the solid brick home at the end of a cul-de-sac in a way that respected the exceptional condition it was in, and the art deco character. Luke explains the connection between old and new was important. ‘In some cases it is best to create a clearly defined line between old and new, however, in this particular case the line is very blurred’ he outlines. The result is a gentle update to the ground floor kitchen, dining and laundry spaces, an additional bathroom, and the creation of a better entertaining spaces both indoor and outdoor.
The renovations draw on the past, to create spaces that feel like they always should have been here! The original blackwood timber panelling provided a reference point for the rich colour palette used in the renovation, with the addition of sirius black natural stone, Japanese tiles and grey natural stone. Brushed brass tapware and lighting adds a refined flair.
Outside, the newly developed outdoor living space takes a more modern approach, as the bold steel lines extend from the house out into the garden. Luke explains ‘the steel structure is contemporary, but it takes a number of cues from the original details of the home’.
This art deco gem is now perfectly placed to work for a new era of family life. And the critics agree – the project won 5 awards in 2018, including best renovation in Australia between $350,000 – $800,000 (National Association of Building Designers).