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An 1888 Italianate Mansion Restored + Revived For A New Century

Architecture

This grand family home in Armadale, Melbourne is a collaboration between architects Pleysier Perkins, and interior designers Sanders & King.

The Italianate home was built in 1888, and was in various states of disrepair when the pair of firms were engaged to complete the project. With a brief to revive the home to its former glory, while also bringing it into the current century, the architects and interior designers devised a clever layout complemented by a rich and detailed material scheme.

The result is a multi-functional, contemporary home, anchored in its Victorian heritage.

22nd March, 2021

The contemporary extension to this heritage house in Armadale opens up the living, dining and kitchen area to modern open-plan configuration. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

As is always the case with solid Victoria home, every opportunity for natural light must be taken! Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Archways became a key design feature for interior designers Taimi Sanders and Elissa King as a way to anchor the new palette in its heritage roots. Joinery by T&M Cabinetry. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

The new kitchen is the heart of the home, containing cafe-inspired fittings and a bar-style island bench made from custom tiles by Porcelain Bear and marble top by GGStone. Joinery by T&M Cabinetry. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

A gorgeous breakfast nook is a moment of intimacy in a grand space. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Rich warm materials complement sculptural features, such as these light fittings overhanging the dining table. Painting by Makinti Napanangka from Scott Livesey Galleries. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

A garden landscaped by Myles Baldwin separates the 1888 Italian residence from the original stables, which sit at the rear of the property. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

The generous proportions of this mansion provided a rare opportunity to play with oversized fittings and fixtures. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Dark tones and warm materials fill the large spaces. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Upstairs, the new extension contains the main bedroom and ensuite. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

The luxe colour and material palette are repeated upstairs, albeit with softer textures and furnishings. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

The modern addition is clad in zinc, marking a clear departure from the original construction and enhancing the craftsmanship of the nineteenth-century design. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

A massive part of the project was restoration, fixing up brickwork and solidifying dilapidated sections. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

The austere entry to the concrete garage will soften over time as the lush landscaping cascades from the raised garden bed above. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

The modern architectural interventions are completely invisible from the street-facing facade. Photo – Sharyn Cairns.

Sasha Gattermayr
Monday 22nd March 2021

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!

See more projects from Pleysier Perkins here, and from Sanders & King here.

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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.