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 Faithfully Updated Mid-Century Melbourne Home

Architecture

When any distinctive mid-century house hits the rest estate market in Melbourne, design enthusiasts wait in fear, to see if the property will be demolished and replaced by a shiny new development. It is therefore so refreshing to see a 1960s house that has not only been retained, but has been given a sympathetic, architect-designed makeover!

MRTN Architects are the designers behind the sleek, restrained renovation of this Frankston South house, which was originally designed in 1963 by architect and football legend Jack Clarke. 

 

15th June, 2020

This 1963 home has been sympathetically restored and renovated by MRTN Architects. Photo – Derek Swalwell

The renovation introduces terracotta tiles and American walnut – materials that are complementary to the mid-century character of the house but not original to it. Photo – Derek Swalwell

”The floor tiles in particular are a beautiful fired terracotta tile. No two tiles are the same, and they really help to introduce richness to the house,’ says architect Antony Martin. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Coral wool carpet casts a beautiful pinkish light onto the living room walls. Photo – Derek Swalwell

One of the biggest alterations made in renovations was the roof pitch being redesigned. Photo – Derek Swalwell

A hit and miss brick wall brings light and shadow into the new en suite. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Working with a limited budget, the decision was made to limit renovations mostly to the original footprint, with a very minor addition of only six square metres. Photo – Derek Swalwell

The landscape architecture was completed by SBLA Studio. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Crazy paving in the outdoor area. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Natural light streams in through floor-to-ceiling windows. Photo – Derek Swalwell

The exterior showcases the original mid-century design. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Amelia Barnes
Monday 15th June 2020

‘We like to think that we upgraded the interior finishes in the way that would have been originally intended, if the materials or budget allowed.’ – Antony Martin.

This recently renovated house in Frankston South by MRTN Architects was originally designed in 1963 by influential architect, Jack Clarke. Clarke not only co-founded the practice today known as Clarke Hopkins Clarke, he also ran the iconic Small Homes Service begun by Robin Boyd, and was a professional Aussie Rules player inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996!

This property was owned by the same family with five children, until it recently sold for the first time. While the house was well loved by its original owners, it had barely been renovated or updated in any way over its 50+ year lifespan, and was in need of a little love. ‘There was a lot of work to bring it up to a contemporary standard in terms of construction, insulation and water tightness, but on the other hand, we did not have to strip away insensitive alterations and additions to the original,’ explains Antony Martin of MRTN Architects.

The new owners had not deliberately sought to own a mid-century house, but they understood the architectural significance of the property, and wished for its unique character to be preserved. ‘They really got how there are fewer and fewer of these houses left in Melbourne, and they recognised the positive contribution they could make by saving it,’ says Antony.

Working with a limited budget, the decision was made to limit renovations mostly to the original footprint, with a very minor addition of only six square metres. 

One of the biggest alterations made to the home, although not immediately obvious, was the roof pitch being redesigned . ‘By redesigning the roof, we were able to address ceiling heights and water tightness, but we like to think it has been done in a way that is indistinct from the original intent of the roof plane,’ says Antony. The home’s insulation was also improved, a highly functional kitchen was installed for the ex-chef owner, the original bathroom was reworked, and a new en suite has been added.

The interiors were also significantly updated, replacing what was formerly quite a simple and utilitarian materials palette. ‘We like to think that we upgraded the interior finishes to allow the house to be finished in the way that would have been originally intended if the materials or budget allowed,’ says Antony. ‘Our palette introduces terracotta tiles and American walnut – materials that are complementary to the mid-century character of the house but not original to.’ Another material introduced is coral coloured wool carpet, which ties in perfectly with the original red brick and casts a beautiful pinkish light onto the living room walls. 

This project is a prime example of the power of restraint when updating a mid-century home. The owners have not only saved this house from likely demolition, but along with MRTN Architects, they’ve created a quality home to last many more decades. 

See more MRTN Architects projects here

This Week

News

A Group Show Combining Ceramics + Still-Life Under One Roof!

Ceramicist Grace Brown joins artistic forces with figurative artist Margaret Voterakis for a new exhibition at Modern Times, ‘Utopian Purs...
Sasha Aarons

Homes

A Biophilic Family Home Among The Trees

The newly-renovated Warrandyte family home of Millie and Dave Wells perfectly blends indoors and out!

Family

An Honest Conversation On Single Parenting By Choice + Donor Conception With Takeawei Ceramics Founder, Chela Edmunds

Chela Edmunds of Takeawei ceramics shares her story of becoming a mother to 18-month-old Ocean via sperm donor and IVF.

Architecture

A New Melbourne Home That Follows The Sun

This Eaglemont home has been cleverly designed 'to almost disappear', by Architects Eat.

On The Market

This Elegant Victorian With An Eclectic Architect-Designed Extension Is For Sale

Period features meet unique, contemporary design in this Ascot Vale, Melbourne home.

Shopping

Lockdown-Inspired Woven Outdoor Picnic Mats, From One Of Our Fave Local Stylists!

Stylist Nat Turnbull launches Laze, a new brand of outdoor mats for lounging and picnicking, with designs by Alice Oehr.

Tiny Homes

The Architect-Designed, Prefabricated Tiny House Of The Future

FABPREFAB have teamed up with TRIAS to create Minima – a series of prefabricated, small dwellings suitable as home offices, living spaces,...

Architecture

A Casually Confident Beachside Home

A falling down period home in South Fremantle has been brought back to life with a new extension by David Barr Architects.
Amelia Barnes
  3 hours ago

Creative People

A Travel-Inspired Ceramics Collection That Will Take You On Holiday!

Queensland-based ceramics brand Marloe Marloe launches a new collection of vessels inspired by the seaside!
Sasha Gattermayr
  19 hours ago

News

Patricia Piccinini And Alpha60 Join Forces On A New Collaboration

The celebrated Australian artist and local fashion legends launch a new series of textiles titled ‘Hugs’, which are now installe...
Sponsored

News

'Giant' by Evi O Opens At Saint Cloche

Artist Evi O showcases her largest paintings to date in new exhibition Giant, on now at Saint Cloche.

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Artist Creating Ceramics Inspired By Ancient Mesoamerican Culture

From dub music to the Chinese Song Dynasty, the influences of Enrique Tochez Anderson stretch far, wide and into the past.

Creative People

Behind The Scenes Of 'Rone In Geelong’ – Opening This Weekend!

See a retrospective of artist Rone's work to date at Geelong Gallery from Saturday February 27 to Sunday May 16, 2021.

Interiors

A Social Sydney Home Elevated By Garden Views + On Point Decoration!

Following an architectural renovation by Welsh + Major, celebrated design studio Arent&Pyke elevate this Sydney home with a stunning array o...

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s Glamorous Victorian Pad Hits The Market!

Chelsea Hing’s apartment in an 1890s Italianate mansion in St Kilda East is up for sale. This is *the one*!

View Comments

Similar Stories

Architecture

An Architect’s Self-Designed Butterfly Home!

The family home of Pleysier Perkins director, Simon Perkins. We've said it before, we'll say it again – architects always have the best h...

Architecture

Mid Century Meets Modern, In This Thoughtfully Renovated 1960s Home

Bower Architecture and Interiors transform a modernist Caulfield home with reclaimed whimsy and glamour.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Contemporary Farmhouse In Suburban Melbourne!

MRTN Architects design a farmhouse suitable for suburbia in Melbourne's Fairfield!

This Week

Shopping

Lockdown-Inspired Woven Outdoor Picnic Mats, From One Of Our Fave Local Stylists!

Stylist Nat Turnbull launches Laze, a new brand of outdoor mats for lounging and picnicking, with designs by Alice Oehr.

On The Market

An Interior Designer’s Glamorous Victorian Pad Hits The Market!

Chelsea Hing’s apartment in an 1890s Italianate mansion in St Kilda East is up for sale. This is *the one*!

Studio Visit

The Melbourne Artist Creating Ceramics Inspired By Ancient Mesoamerican Culture

From dub music to the Chinese Song Dynasty, the influences of Enrique Tochez Anderson stretch far, wide and into the past.

News

Patricia Piccinini And Alpha60 Join Forces On A New Collaboration

The celebrated Australian artist and local fashion legends launch a new series of textiles titled ‘Hugs’, which are now installe...
Sponsored

Family

An Honest Conversation On Single Parenting By Choice + Donor Conception With Takeawei Ceramics Founder, Chela Edmunds

Chela Edmunds of Takeawei ceramics shares her story of becoming a mother to 18-month-old Ocean via sperm donor and IVF.

News

A Group Show Combining Ceramics + Still-Life Under One Roof!

Ceramicist Grace Brown joins artistic forces with figurative artist Margaret Voterakis for a new exhibition at Modern Times, ‘Utopian Purs...
Sasha Aarons

Creative People

Behind The Scenes Of 'Rone In Geelong’ – Opening This Weekend!

See a retrospective of artist Rone's work to date at Geelong Gallery from Saturday February 27 to Sunday May 16, 2021.

Tiny Homes

The Architect-Designed, Prefabricated Tiny House Of The Future

FABPREFAB have teamed up with TRIAS to create Minima – a series of prefabricated, small dwellings suitable as home offices, living spaces,...

On The Market

This Elegant Victorian With An Eclectic Architect-Designed Extension Is For Sale

Period features meet unique, contemporary design in this Ascot Vale, Melbourne home.

Homes

A Biophilic Family Home Among The Trees

The newly-renovated Warrandyte family home of Millie and Dave Wells perfectly blends indoors and out!

Interiors

A Social Sydney Home Elevated By Garden Views + On Point Decoration!

Following an architectural renovation by Welsh + Major, celebrated design studio Arent&Pyke elevate this Sydney home with a stunning array o...

Architecture

A Casually Confident Beachside Home

A falling down period home in South Fremantle has been brought back to life with a new extension by David Barr Architects.
Amelia Barnes
  3 hours ago

Creative People

A Travel-Inspired Ceramics Collection That Will Take You On Holiday!

Queensland-based ceramics brand Marloe Marloe launches a new collection of vessels inspired by the seaside!
Sasha Gattermayr
  19 hours ago

News

'Giant' by Evi O Opens At Saint Cloche

Artist Evi O showcases her largest paintings to date in new exhibition Giant, on now at Saint Cloche.

Architecture

A New Melbourne Home That Follows The Sun

This Eaglemont home has been cleverly designed 'to almost disappear', by Architects Eat.

Similar Stories

Architecture

An Architect’s Self-Designed Butterfly Home!

We've said it before, we'll say it again – architects always have the best houses!

Architecture

Mid Century Meets Modern, In This Thoughtfully Renovated 1960s Home

Bower Architecture and Interiors transform a modernist Caulfield home, with reclaimed whimsy and glamour.
Miriam McGarry

Architecture

A Contemporary Farmhouse In Suburban Melbourne!

MRTN Architects design a farmhouse suitable for suburbia in Melbourne's Fairfield!

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.