A Victorian Terrace Renovation Inspired By Feng Shui

When architect Steffen Welsch presented his initial ideas for this Melbourne terrace renovation, he received some unexpected feedback. ‘…you do know this is not good feng shui?’ his clients said. This response inspired Steffen’s team to go back to the drawing board, spend some time researching feng shui, and ultimately design a better home.

The renovated house is now a light-filled space punctuated by colour, and filled with good energy!

Amelia Barnes

Curves have been introduced throughout this Melbourne terrace. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The renovation has brought good feng shui into the home. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The new open-plan living domain. Photo – Shannon McGrath

A shade of orange-toned pink appears strategically throughout the home, in a manner reminiscent of Mexican architect Luis Barragan’s work. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The sculptural staircase is a standout new feature. Photo – Shannon McGrath

Brick was chosen for thermal mass and painted with a matte finished. Photo – Shannon McGrath

Pink was again to accentuate little brick platforms. Photo – Shannon McGrath

‘It is very vibrant and conveys energy, so we were careful how we used it’ says the architects of the orange-toned pink accent. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The original second bedroom was transformed into a bathroom and separate laundry/powder room. Photo – Shannon McGrath

A desk in the study area built by Woodcraft Mobiliar. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The new rear exterior. Photo – Shannon McGrath

The original hallway has been restored. Photo – Shannon McGrath

Amelia Barnes
12th of October 2020

When Steffen Welsch Architects were brought in to renovate this property in Melbourne’s inner north, the single-fronted terrace had a lean-to, with three inappropriately-sized rooms. There was also no relationship between the living space and the backyard, due to a bathroom being previously tacked on at the rear. ‘It didn’t have good sunlight access or ventilation, so it felt dark, uncomfortable and cold,’ says Steffen.

The main renovation objectives were to improve the home’s thermal performance, and open up the living domain. Other desires included the clients’ wish for a study, second bathroom, and a laundry, but these were treated as budget-permitting ‘maybes’ rather than ‘must haves’, in order to design the most functional home possible. 

The updated home offers a sense of discovery, starting in the restored front rooms and hallway, into the open-plan living area, and through to the new upper storey. ‘Ideas reveal themselves gradually. There is the unexpected, and each room has its own character and merits,’ says Steffen. The original second bedroom was transformed in this process, becoming a bathroom, laundry/powder room, while the upper storey contains two new bedrooms. 

A key material of the renovation is timber, which flows from the original floors onto the new wall lining, stairwell, ceiling, and rear exterior. Brick and concrete were meanwhile selected for thermal mass, enabling heat from direct sunlight to be stored in the living area. 

A shade of orangey-pink also appears strategically throughout the home, in a manner reminiscent of Mexican architect Luis Barragán’s work. ‘It is very vibrant and conveys energy, so we were careful how we used it. As you enter the main living space you see only the reflection of colour in the stair void, then when you arrive at the stair and turn around, the full extent of the pink feature wall is revealed,’ Steffen says.

Overall, this house has been completely transformed, containing new spaces that are rich, but not overbearing. Inspired by feng shui principles, Steffen Welsch Architects have created a functional, thermally comfortable, and beautiful home.

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