Though the brief to transform this Victorian mansion in Melbourne’s Armadale into a contemporary family home was relatively simple, the execution involved close collaboration between an architect, two interior designers and a landscaper – and that was just the design phase.
‘The extension to the rear needed to be hidden from street frontage and provide a new first floor bedroom and ensuite,’ explains principal, Ramon Pleysier of Pleysier Perkins. As such, the new design by project architect Anthony Dann included a zinc-clad addition, which was nestled neatly between the two original chimneys, to sit just below the roofline.
The original ‘rabbit-warren’ layout was opened up via a series of archways, which became a major design motif throughout the interiors. The sleeping quarters were confined upstairs to make best use of natural light afforded by the front windows and new rear extension, while the kitchen, living and dining room were rearranged into an open-plan configuration.
With the rear extension and exterior restoration work to be handled by the architects, interior designers Taimi Sanders and Elissa King (of Sanders & King) focussed on a material scheme that would unify the heritage design, with a contemporary attitude.
‘Wherever possible, existing materials were to be re-used and rejuvenated to work with the project palette,’ explains Taimi and Elissa. ‘A great example of this is in the rear powder room, where rather than demolishing an old fireplace, the owner was keen to incorporate it into the design, so we transformed the chimney into the powder room vanity.’
The home’s generous proportions provided a rare opportunity for the interiors to be fit with oversized joinery and fittings, such as 3-metre-tall steel doors, sculptural light fittings and bold colour changes from room to room. Working with the dark, heavy materials of the original brickwork and the new architectural additions informed Taimi and Elissa’s rich interior palette, which consisted of marble thresholds, brass in-lays and custom tiles. The cafe-inspired dining area is their favourite part of the new home, where banquette seating forms a cosy breakfast nook and a bar-style island bench made from Porcelain Bear tiles and custom marble top by GGStone dominates the kitchen.
A pool and garden landscaped by Myles Baldwin separates the house from the heritage stables at the rear of the property, whose interiors have also been transformed by Sanders & King, in a contemporary farmhouse style without any architectural intervention.
‘It was a challenge to achieve a human scale within these enormous spaces, whilst retaining the heritage grandeur,’ says Taimi and Elissa. A challenge all parties embraced and overcame, with spectacular results!