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A Japanese Inspired California Bungalow

Architecture

Melbourne’s Elwood would have to be one of the most frequently mentioned suburbs in the TDF inbox of late. Last month we brought you this entertainer’s paradise, and today’s post is yet another delightful renovation from the beachside suburb!

Join us as we tour this renovated California bungalow, designed by Splinter Society to uniquely reflect their client’s diverse interests.

12th November, 2019

The darkly painted facade of Elwood House by Splinter Society. Photo – Jack Lovel

A leafy garden is a prominent feature of this property. Photo – Jack Lovel

Landscape design by Eckersley Garden Architecture. Photo – Jack Lovel

‘The home is a series of small, intimate spaces designed to reveal moments of delight by either moving through them or just sitting and enjoying the passage of time,’ says the architect, Chris Stanley. Photo – Jack Lovel

The client’s brief requested an intimate place to retreat from public life that respected but modernised the existing home. Photo – Jack Lovel

A combination of dark, moody spaces with timber detailing feature throughout the project. Photo – Jack Lovel

‘The house is deeply personal to its owner and captures a lifetime of memories,’ says Chris Stanley. Photo – Jack Lovel

Japanese design influences are evident in the dramatic bathroom. Photo – Jack Lovel

Natural materials and a statement freestanding bath make up the stunning bathroom. Photo – Jack Lovel

The renovation has better connected the home to its leafy garden. Photo – Jack Lovel

A small swimming pool is among this home’s many surprises! Photo – Jack Lovel

The architect wanted to create the feeling of being on holiday, without leaving home. Photo – Jack Lovel

‘While it retains a cosy cottage feel, it cannot be separated from the landscape that grounds it, expands it, frames it, and makes sense of its natural charm,’ says Chris Stanley. Photo – Jack Lovel

Amelia Barnes
Tuesday 12th November 2019

‘This house is not about grand statements. It’s a series of small, intimate spaces designed to reveal moments of delight.’ – Chris Stanley

The recent renovation of this Elwood home been designed by Splinter Society to feature several distinct and ‘moments’ throughout. The journey starts with the property’s dark and ornate bungalow facade, followed by a light-filled living room with garden views, before eventually leading into a dramatically moody bathroom.  ‘Our client requested an intimacy within her house. Living and working from home meant that she wanted a series of spaces with unique individual character, but with the warmth and security that the original house delivered,’ explains Splinter Society director, Chris Stanley. ‘The rooms remain defined, however they gradually open and connect together in a new way as you move through the house.’ 

The home’s diverse mix of architectural influences is reflective of the client’s broad and ever changing brief. ‘We had to keep refining our thinking and the end result is a much richer result, with layers of meaning that evolved right through to the completion of defects,’ Chris says. One of the most prominent influences is Japanese architecture, as evident in the material selection of the bathroom, and the home’s protected position on the site. ‘California bungalows traditionally borrowed heavily from a Japanese housing vernacular,’ says Chris. ‘Given our clients love for her bungalow, we borrowed specific qualities and influences from this house style to developed a set of design informing principles.’

One of the most successful outcomes of this renovation is the home’s new connection to its leafy garden, without a dramatic increase of the building’s footprint. A single room designed to act as a pavilion was added to the property for this purpose alone, in addition to several openings in the original rooms that better frame garden views. ‘Some connections to the garden are short views, and others are long and layered, but all create a sense that the house has been transported from its suburban block onto a much larger site,’ says Chris. The exact effect of this is difficult to capture in images alone, inviting an evolving array of light and shadows across the home’s surfaces throughout the day. 

‘This house is not about grand statements. It’s a series of small, intimate spaces designed to reveal moments of delight by either moving through them or just sitting and enjoying the passage of time,’ says Chris. ‘The house is deeply personal to its owner and captures a lifetime of memories. While it retains a cosy cottage feel, it cannot be separated from the landscape that grounds it, expands it, frames it, and makes sense of its natural charm.’

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net