A Mood-Enhancing Melbourne Home

For the past 20 years or so, this Melbourne house consisted of two parts: a gracious Victorian home, with a lacklustre, dated extension. 

Kennedy Nolan were recently engaged to unify the home’s disparate design expressions to form a single entity. Starting with a cool and calming colour palette, the Kennedy Nolan team have created a cohesive, playful home that triggers positive memories, and helps create new ones.

Amelia Barnes

Shapes on the rear glass are reminiscent of the iconic Play School windows. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Renovations have better connected the house to the garden. Photo – Derek Swalwell

The colour palette is described by the architects as ‘cool, quiet, but with some intensity and playfulness.’ Photo – Derek Swalwell

Calming blue is used throughout. Photo – Derek Swalwell

More blue! Photo – Derek Swalwell

Bold red tones also feature in the interiors. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Green is another colour in the interior palette. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Gorgeous gold/mustard toned Astoria carpet from Tsar Carpets. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Amelia Barnes
27th of October 2020

Prior to a recent renovation by Kennedy Nolan, this Melbourne home was a generous Victorian dwelling with well-proportioned rooms, but an uninspiring extension. ‘Some later additions had been made over 20 years ago, and while well built and very solid, these were not as architecturally distinguished as the original house,’ explains Patrick Kennedy, principal of Kennedy Nolan. 

Kennedy Nolan’s job was to connect these contrasting design influences, enabling the house to better function as one.

In response, the floor plan was wrangled into three zones: a parent’s zone, a children’s zone, and a social space for everyone to gather.  

The second important task was to unify the house visually. To do so, Kennedy Nolan firstly identified a colour palette described by Patrick as ‘cool, quiet, but with some intensity and playfulness,’ to define a particular mood. ‘This design was largely generated from a colour palette’ says Patrick. ‘We found that the tertiary hues and softened chroma suggested a certain approach, and answered all our design questions. Colour can be that powerful.’ 

This feeling of playfulness was further enhanced by the use of shapes on the rear glass facade, that are reminiscent of the iconic Play School windows! ‘The windows are part of an ongoing exploration in our practice of the way in which simple shapes and forms can reference manifold things in our memory, and help make connections to a place,’ Patrick says. ‘Colour has such a remarkable ability to make us see things in a different way. It’s emotive and both triggers and creates memories.’

This bold palette, combined with an emphasis on textured materials and a coordinated layering approach to furniture and lighting, has resulted in a family house that is comfortable, light, and better connected to the garden. Patrick calls it a ‘sophisticated setting, for playful grown ups and serious children!’

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