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A Nearly Demolished Home Turned Interior Masterpiece!

Interiors

It’s common for modern homes to combine several architectural influences, but ‘Killara’ in Melbourne’s Windsor may be one of the best examples we’ve seen!

Behind the home’s classic 1850s brickwork is the original floorplan with restored heritage features, then a mid-century inspired extension, and a contemporary rear facade with a reflective steel finish.

Designer Dina Malathounis from Junctions90 says the aim was to create a home so well-conceived, that it would never be demolished.

13th January, 2020

The original 1850s facade. Photo – Christine Francis.

Tan leather seating and a sculptural fireplace in Killara’s sunken lounge. Photo – Christine Francis.

This seating arrangement aims to bring the a busy, multi-generational family occupants together. Photo – Christine Francis.

Floor-to-ceiling windows invite light into the new living and dining space. Photo – Christine Francis.

All cabinetry in the home is made from timber. Photo – Christine Francis.

An understated palette of walnut, white and black features in the interiors. Photo – Christine Francis.

A clear distinction between the old and new sections of the home was deliberately facilitated. Photo – Christine Francis.

A freestanding, sculptural bath. Photo – Christine Francis.

All of the unsalvageable original fireplaces and plasterwork were replaced in renovations. Photo – Christine Francis.

1850s brick meets contemporary steel. Photo – Christine Francis.

The voluminous two-storey extension is inspired by the ‘extreme clarity and simplicity’ of German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s work. Photo – Christine Francis.

The upper-storey extension facade features a reflective stainless-steel finish. Photo – Christine Francis.

Amelia Barnes
Monday 13th January 2020

‘Occupants can update furniture, but they don’t need to update the building fabric.’ – Dina Malathounis

When this stately 1850s house in Windsor was purchased at auction, it was effectively saved from developers who were keen to demolish it. Recognising this potential fate, the owners engaged Junctions90 to renovate the home in a manner so enduring that its legacy and significance would never again be questioned.

The project presented an opportunity to marry the existing period architecture with superb 21st century living requirements. The clients required enough space to accommodate a home business, and bedrooms for multiple generations under the one roof.

Restoring the original rooms of the house was the first order of business. All the fireplaces and plasterwork needed replacing, with local craftspeople engaged to create replicas, including one of a 160-year-old ceiling rose. The floorplan remained unchanged except for one room transformed into a walk-in wardrobe.

A voluminous two-storey extension was added, inspired by the ‘extreme clarity and simplicity’ of German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s work. Bleached white polished concrete floors and a suspended concrete roof give the space durability, complemented by an understated palette of walnut, white and black. ‘The approach to the materials selection – concrete, steel and glass – was based on the idea that these timeless materials and clean aesthetic would reduce obsolescence. Occupants can update furniture, but they don’t need to update the building fabric,’ says Dina Malathounis, principal of Junctions90.

The interior highlight of the extension is the sunken lounge surrounding a sculptural hanging fireplace. While based on popular lounges from the 1960s, this seating arrangement fulfils the very modern purpose of bringing a busy family together.

A further standout element of this project is the upper-storey rear facade featuring a reflective stainless-steel finish. Dina’s vision was for this facade to appear almost invisible, concealing the 21st century features inside.

Killara has certainly achieved its design intent, taking out a handful of awards in the process. The sunken lounge living room was named ‘Room of the year’ by Australian House & Garden magazine, and Dina became the first female lead designer to win the BDAV Building Design of the Year in its 22-year existence.

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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.

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