This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

A House Full of Texture For A Family of Makers

Architecture

When you sit down to design a house for three boys, an artist and a builder to live in, you inevitably need something durable. You also pick the most robust material you can. Red brick.

For this house in Northcote, Rob Kennon Architects worked closely with the owners to create a solid, yet textural extension to an existing California bungalow, for a family of makers and doers to live in for the next two decades.

2nd March, 2020

Sliding doors connect the outside with in. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The dominant red brick is softened by timber, but still retains an industrial feel. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

An inviting living nook. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The owner collects and hangs art alongside her own. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Timber banquette seating in the dining room. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

The red brick fireplace. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Red brickwork everywhere means utility spaces like kitchens and bathrooms can afford to be more clean and simple. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Storage is hidden in the corridor panelling. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Woodworking is a family hobby, so the intricacy of the kitchen cabinetry makes sense. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Hannah’s art studio. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A study space. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Some say red brick is too much, we say give us more! Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Landscaping breaks up the austere industrial lines of the single level dwelling. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A sun-lit deck offers treeline views from the neighbouring park. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

A statement outdoor fireplace in – of course – red brick. Photo – Derek Swalwell.

Sasha Gattermayr
Monday 2nd March 2020

‘We took a plunge with the red brick. It was quite a big call when it’s so dominant’ – Rob Kennon.

Red brick is bold choice for your primary material. Rob Kennon knows that, but for this new extension to a California bungalow in Melbourne’s inner north, he leaned into it. ‘We took a plunge with the red brick,’ he admits. ‘It was quite a big call when it’s so dominant, it’s a material you can get sick of.’

But if there was ever a family that emanated the bold sturdiness and functional texture of red brick, it was these clients. With a painter, a builder and three sons who make furniture, restore motorbikes and practise woodworking, it was essential that the house had a crafted feel. ‘Spaces allocated to making and creating were important’, arguably, they’re the residence’s entire lifeblood.

Brickwork wraps the exterior, funnelling inside to form divider walls, an external fire place and studio spaces. This distinctive textural red surface can be glanced at from every angle, while a timber fence and internal timber panelling provide a material balance. ‘Timber and clay have a synergy,’ Rob explains of the union, prefacing the choice with the need to eliminate flatness, and provide a warming element to the natural palette.

Landscaping is used to break up the solidity of the structure. A courtyard separates the studios from the main dwelling, garden views spill into the living area and vantages of the sky and treeline are borrowed from the neighbouring park.

The addition to the original California bungalow remains determinedly on a single level, the new floorplan ‘a maze of functions that meld into each other’ to allow the family to be constantly passing, viewing and interacting with each other and their work. The family of craftspeople required dedicated tinkering spaces, so the old driveway was transformed into a separate painting studio, and a mechanical and timber workshop.

This durable space is more elegant than meets the eye. Though ‘the focus is on light and function rather than decoration’, the careful balance of materials is the real triumph here, precisely measured to create a home that is both robust and hardwearing, and full of character.

 

This Week

Stays

An Off-The-Grid Eco Bush Retreat Rebuilt From The Ashes

This entirely self-sufficient bushland house in Gippsland was destroyed in the Black Saturday fires just two weeks after it was completed. N...
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

Past + Present Coincide In This Army Drill House Conversion

A Federation red brick hall in Sydney is stripped of its imposing 1980s renovation (with some contemporary touches)!
Sasha Gattermayr

Food

Salty Chocolate Caramel Bars From The New Beatrix Bakes Book!

A ridiculously delicious recipe from the beloved North Melbourne cake shop's much-anticipated first cookbook!
Nat Paull

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A California Bungalow Reconnects With Its Magnificent Backyard

From Jim Carrey to nearby developments, there’s a whole host of influences behind this innovative and sustainable home by Native Design Wo...
Amelia Barnes

Architecture

The Spanish Mission House For An Old Amigo!

Kennon Architects create a fresh renovation a 1926 Spanish Mission home for a close friend in Malvern.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Bafflingly Beautiful Renovation

Clare Cousins architects transforms an Edwardian home in Melbourne with a distinctive garden pavilion.
Miriam McGarry

This Week

Mid-Century Modern

This Modernist House Has The Best Lounge We’ve EVER Seen, And It’s On The Market

Alongside ocean views, this 1975 modernist homestead contains a feature pond and a pink Italian marble bathroom!
Sasha Gattermayr

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Fred’s Head Chef, Danielle Alvarez

Follow the daily routine of Danielle Alvarez, head chef of the renowned Paddington restaurant, Fred's!
Amelia Barnes
  13 hours ago

Sustainable Homes

An Ultra Energy-Efficient Makeover Of A Victorian Country Home

In this country Victoria project, MRTN Architects prove even the coldest period houses can be updated to achieve incredible sustainability s...

News

Watch The National Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Art Awards Live!

Brooke Boney hosts the prestigious art awards ceremony, which will be broadcast online for the first time ever!

News

Big-Time Designer Brands On Sale At Space Furniture!

Upgrade your living space with discounted B&B Italia, Moooi, Kartell + more!
Sponsored

TDF Design Awards

These Emerging Designers Are The Next Big Things!

Introducing the 8 showstopping finalists in the Emerging Designer category of The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2020!
Lucy Feagins

Homes

The Colourful Family Home Of Fenton & Fenton Owner, Lucy Fenton!

The Malvern home of Lucy Fenton, owner of Fenton & Fenton, is a vibrant, eclectic and thoroughly sunshine-y space!

Food

Learn From Free To Feed's Favourite Cooking Instructors, In The Comfort Of Your Own Home!

Learn how to cook a delicious Persian feast at home with All Together Now, a new community cooking initiative from the beloved Melbourne-bas...
02.36

Kitchens

Kennedy Nolan Design The Quintessential Modern Australian Kitchen, With Laminex

The award-winning Australian architecture practice collaborate with Laminex to create two clever contemporary kitchens.

On The Market

A Rare Mid-Century Gem Near Heide Is For Sale!

This Bauhaus-influenced family home in Eaglemont was built in 1966 - and boasts some serious mid-century credentials!
Sasha Gattermayr

TDF Collect

TDF Collect Presents 'Portalis' By Hannah Nowlan

A series of 15 richly textured paintings exploring retreat, regeneration and the rapidly changing world around us from the talented Victoria...

Art

Sally Anderson's New Works Explore 'Home' As Landscape, In A Pandemic Age

The NSW-based artist's new exhibition explores the poetry of everyday spaces.
Sasha Gattermayr

Architecture

A Sorrento Beach House Devoted To Its Modernist Past

Cera Stribley architects bring this 1960s delight into the 21st century, with careful restraint.
Sasha Gattermayr

News

Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair Launches Online!

Buy ethically traded art at the country’s largest Aboriginal art fair in its (now virtual) marketplace.
Sasha Gattermayr
  4 hours ago

News

Win A Night At This Tiny Secluded Cabin!

This cosy holiday collaboration between In Bed and Unyoked is making us feel all the feels.

Similar Stories

Architecture

A California Bungalow Reconnects With Its Magnificent Backyard

From Jim Carrey to nearby developments, there’s a whole host of influences behind this innovative home by Native Design Workshop!
Amelia Barnes

Architecture

The Spanish Mission House For An Old Amigo!

Kennon Architects create a fresh renovation for a close friend in Malvern.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Bafflingly Beautiful Renovation

Clare Cousins architects transforms an Edwardian home in Melbourne with a distinctive garden pavilion.
Miriam McGarry