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 Majestic Heritage Home In South Yarra Gets A Masterful Update

Architecture

Even with heritage protection, significant period homes can easily become rundown and drab over time, requiring major works to restore them to their former glory.

In the case of this 1880s South Yarra home for example, early demolition works revealed the need for significant restorations and rebuilding, despite initially appearing in pretty good nick!

Robson Rak Architects were tasked with reinstating the original home in line with heritage restrictions, while adding a contemporary extension suitable for a family of five.

12th May, 2020

Robson Rak designed a contemporary extension for this circa 1882 Victorian Italianate house. Photo – Shannon McGrath

A key element of this project was introducing a new open-plan living, kitchen and dining domain to serve as the heart of the home. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The stunning new pool. Photo – Shannon McGrath

Glass doors pivot open to connect indoors and out. Photo – Shannon McGrath

Perfectly integrated firewood storage. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The kitchen includes comfortable banquette seating cleverly integrated into the joinery. Photo – Shannon McGrath

‘We always saw the fireplace being a central part to success of this home, with all spaces pivoting around it,’ says architect Kathryn Robson of the extension. Photo – Shannon McGrath

Photo – Shannon McGrath

Landscape design by Mud Office. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The brief was to design a functional family home for five with both communal and individual spaces. Photo – Shannon McGrath

‘Heritage was supportive of our proposal as it clearly distinguishes the old and new fabric of the building.  We did not intend to create a replica Victorian, and our proposal received support due to this,’ says Kathryn. Photo – Shannon McGrath

Photo – Shannon McGrath

Grand proportions in the restored front rooms. Photo – Shannon McGrath

‘We were entrusted to design their forever home that should be classical, contemporary, and timeless,’ says Kathryn. Photo – Shannon McGrath

A restored open fireplace. Photo – Shannon McGrath

A generous and glamorous new bathroom. Photo – Shannon McGrath

‘We wanted to restore and respect the original Victorian spaces, but re-purpose them to ensure they became useful, functional spaces in the home,’ says Kathryn. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The incredible, restored Victorian Italianate facade.  Photo – Shannon McGrath

The entrance into the now completed home. Photo – Shannon McGrath

Amelia Barnes
Tuesday 12th May 2020

‘They could see the value of their investment in the health of the building, and consequently the health and wellbeing of their family.’ – Kathryn Robson

Robson Rak were recently engaged to renovate ‘Batavia’ – one of South Yarra’s few remaining double-storey, Victorian Italianate houses. Despite the property being heritage protected and initially appearing to be in good condition, early demolition works uncovered myriad structural issues, calling for significant restorations.

The brief was to restore the original house, reconfigure the layout, and add an extension to suit a modern family of five. ‘We were entrusted to design their forever home that should be classical, contemporary, and timeless,’ says Kathryn Robson, director of Robson Rak Architects. The architects proposed a building borrowing the proportions of the older style, reinterpreted for the 21st century.

A key element of this project was introducing a new open-plan living, kitchen and dining domain to serve as the heart of the home. This space was envisioned as a light-filled area with a garden on all sides, anchored by a central fireplace. ‘We always saw the fireplace being a central part to the success of this home, with all spaces pivoting around it,’ says Kathryn.

A combination of formal and casual elements make this home as liveable as it is visually majestic. Among practical details cleverly integrated into the design is the comfortable banquette seating in the kitchen joinery (‘The perfect spot for someone to sit with a glass of wine while someone else cooks up a storm’ says Kathryn), and designated cupboards for children’s craft materials. ‘It’s a very sociable, versatile kitchen where everything occurs.’

The now completed home cleverly stitches together two distinct architectural eras, creating the most impressive iteration of this circa 1882 home yet!

View more spectacular Robson Rak projects here and keep up with their latest work via their Instagram

This Week

Interiors

A Crash Course In Renovating Your Own Home From Top To Bottom, With BuildHer Collective

Rebeka Morgan and Kribashini Hannon of BuildHer Collective bring us a new book containing all the info you need to embark on building or ren...
Rebeka Morgan and Kribashini Hannon

On The Market

A Corner Store Turned Architectural Home Hits The Market In Brunswick

An 1883 shopfront turned architectural home with a pool and sauna is for sale in Brunswick!

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Chrissy Lafian, Founder And Creative Director Of Suku

With teams in both Melbourne and Bali, Chrissy lets us in on how she runs the lifestyle brand she's built from scratch!

Studio Visit

Experimental Designer Jessie French Is Shaping A Seaweed-Centric Future

The Melbourne artist shares her process of creating seaweed-based bioplastics, the beautiful resin-like homewares she makes from it + what t...

News

Shop The Megan Park Archive Of More Than 10,000 Pieces!

Legendary fashion designer Megan Park has kept one of every piece she has designed over the last 22 years – and now, she’s opening h...

Architecture

A Surprise Garden Brings This 'Pop-Up' Home To Life

Figr creates a unique language between architectural and landscaped spaces to truly maximise this small footprint home for a family of three...

Gardens

A Slice Of Primeval Paradise In Bronte

Situated on a steep site in a sometimes blustery coastal location, the planting palette for this stunning garden in Sydney is both soft, and...

News

The Magic And Art Of Beekeeping With Honey Fingers

Mud Australia is hosting an exhibition and in conversation event with legendary urban beekeepers Honey Fingers, moderated by artist Stanisla...
Sally Tabart

Stays

Northern NSW’s Newest Holiday House, Made From Recycled Materials

Book your stay at Rockhaven at Booyong – a new holiday house made from recycled materials located 40 minutes from Byron Bay.

Interiors

How To Nail The Bathroom Basics, According To Reece

A crash course in very excellent bathroom design, courtesy of bathrooms + kitchens merchandising leader at Reece Bathrooms, Daniella Santill...
Sasha Gattermayr
  6 hours ago

Architecture

This Clever + Compact Bondi Home Feels Like A Never-Ending Holiday!

Fox Johnston architects managed to expand the footprint of this small and narrow Sydney site to create a generous, private haven!

Food

Julia's Autumnal Weeknight Rocket and Hazelnut Pesto Linguine

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's linguine with a herby rocket and hazelnut pesto is a riff on the classic weeknight family meal by adding earthy,
Julia Busuttil Nishimura
  14 hours ago

Architecture

A Timeless New Home In Ballarat, With Lake Views + Mid-Century Vibes

With American ‘Brady Bunch’ house vibes (!) this new home in Ballarat by Kennedy Nolan channels mid century design, with a sleek, contem...

Homes

A Magical Alistair Knox-Designed Rental In Eltham!

The seriously dreamy 1970s rental home of Pop and Scott trade manager Lucienne Van Sebille, and her partner Sebastian.

News

An Extensive Art And Design Festival Taking Over Brisbane!

Brisbane Art Design (BAD) is a public art program bringing the Sunshine State’s exemplary creative scene to the fore throughout the month
Sponsored

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Modern Addition To A Heritage Home In Daylesford

Moloney Architects introduce a new glass pavilion to an 1863 house in Daylesford's church district.

Architecture

A Curvaceous Renovation In Sydney

A former Bed & Breakfast in Sydney's Forest Lodge returned to its former glory as a grand family home, by Carter Williamson.

Architecture

A Curvy, Unexpected Renovation For A Heritage Home

Bryant Alsop Architects introduce light, space and surprising features to this suburban Melbourne home.

This Week

Gardens

A Slice Of Primeval Paradise In Bronte

Situated on a steep site in a sometimes blustery coastal location, the planting palette for this stunning garden in Sydney is both soft, and...

News

An Extensive Art And Design Festival Taking Over Brisbane!

Brisbane Art Design (BAD) is a public art program bringing the Sunshine State’s exemplary creative scene to the fore throughout the month
Sponsored

Studio Visit

Experimental Designer Jessie French Is Shaping A Seaweed-Centric Future

The Melbourne artist shares her process of creating seaweed-based bioplastics, the beautiful resin-like homewares she makes from it + what t...

Interiors

A Crash Course In Renovating Your Own Home From Top To Bottom, With BuildHer Collective

Rebeka Morgan and Kribashini Hannon of BuildHer Collective bring us a new book containing all the info you need to embark on building or ren...
Rebeka Morgan and Kribashini Hannon

News

The Magic And Art Of Beekeeping With Honey Fingers

Mud Australia is hosting an exhibition and in conversation event with legendary urban beekeepers Honey Fingers, moderated by artist Stanisla...
Sally Tabart

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of Chrissy Lafian, Founder And Creative Director Of Suku

With teams in both Melbourne and Bali, Chrissy lets us in on how she runs the lifestyle brand she's built from scratch!

Homes

A Magical Alistair Knox-Designed Rental In Eltham!

The seriously dreamy 1970s rental home of Pop and Scott trade manager Lucienne Van Sebille, and her partner Sebastian.

News

Shop The Megan Park Archive Of More Than 10,000 Pieces!

Legendary fashion designer Megan Park has kept one of every piece she has designed over the last 22 years – and now, she’s opening h...

Architecture

A Surprise Garden Brings This 'Pop-Up' Home To Life

Figr creates a unique language between architectural and landscaped spaces to truly maximise this small footprint home for a family of three...

Architecture

This Clever + Compact Bondi Home Feels Like A Never-Ending Holiday!

Fox Johnston architects managed to expand the footprint of this small and narrow Sydney site to create a generous, private haven!

On The Market

A Corner Store Turned Architectural Home Hits The Market In Brunswick

An 1883 shopfront turned architectural home with a pool and sauna is for sale in Brunswick!

Architecture

A Timeless New Home In Ballarat, With Lake Views + Mid-Century Vibes

With American ‘Brady Bunch’ house vibes (!) this new home in Ballarat by Kennedy Nolan channels mid century design, with a sleek, contem...

Food

Julia's Autumnal Weeknight Rocket and Hazelnut Pesto Linguine

Julia Busuttil Nishimura's linguine with a herby rocket and hazelnut pesto is a riff on the classic weeknight family meal by adding earthy,
Julia Busuttil Nishimura
  14 hours ago

Interiors

How To Nail The Bathroom Basics, According To Reece

A crash course in very excellent bathroom design, courtesy of bathrooms + kitchens merchandising leader at Reece Bathrooms, Daniella Santill...
Sasha Gattermayr
  6 hours ago

Stays

Northern NSW’s Newest Holiday House, Made From Recycled Materials

Book your stay at Rockhaven at Booyong – a new holiday house made from recycled materials located 40 minutes from Byron Bay.

Similar Stories

Architecture

A Modern Addition To A Heritage Home In Daylesford

A glass pavilion extension marks a new era for this 1863 Daylesford home.

Architecture

A Curvaceous Renovation In Sydney

A former Bed & Breakfast returned to its former glory as a grand family home, by Carter Williamson.

Architecture

A Curvy, Unexpected Renovation For A Heritage Home

Bryant Alsop Architects introduce light, space and surprising features to this suburban Melbourne home.

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 – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.