A Contemporary Renovation That Revives Forgotten Spaces

At first glance, this black zinc extension by Studiofour seems like a striking contrast to the original heritage residence that sits at its front. But when you peel back the layers and examine the elements underpinning its design, a masterful framework of references between old and new reveals itself.

The Melbourne-based holistic design studio decided against replicating or reproducing period characteristics; instead devising a renovation that would evoke the spirit of the original home through high volumes, pitched lines and a consistent material palette. Welcome to Central Park Residence!

Sasha Gattermayr

This black zinc addition with a pitched roof seems bold from the outset, but the motivations behind the design expose deep and intricate connections to the original heritage site beyond it. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Clean minimal lines in the rear sitting room are a complete reworking of the ’80s extension that initially sat on the site. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Black cladding references the black mantle in the sitting room. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Play between light and dark palettes mirrors the connection between outside and in. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

The generous kitchen and living zone is filled with light, and able to be fully opened to the garden via sliding glass doors. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

The mudroom sits behind the kitchen, with a window overlooking the 8-metre long veggie patch beyond! Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Exposed timber beams in the kitchen reference the intricate wooden fretwork overhanding the front verandah. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Walls on either side of the central fireplaces were demolished to create floating chimney islands which increased the flow between previously discrete spaces. Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Photo – Shannon McGrath.

Sasha Gattermayr
18th of March 2021

When Studiofour were engaged to the complete the restoration and renovation of a heritage family home in Malvern, they held a series of workshops with their client to properly understand the site. What emerged from those meetings was a clear architectural language the owners had in mind for their new home, and the many failings of the existing property – which had been fitted with an unsympathetic extension in the ’80s.

‘The existing spaces were uninviting, often forgotten, and disconnected from the rear of the home,’ explains architect and co-director of Studiofour, Annabelle Berryman. ‘It was established early on that the rear renovation was of no value and would need to be demolished, and many areas of the original house were in need of extreme restoration.’

Working within a heritage overlay, Annabelle and her team started on the designs for an extension outside of the (literal) ‘box’ format typical of many heritage additions, instead settling on a large triangular structure made of black zinc. The barn-shaped addition mirrors the contours of the facade to ensure the renovation was not visible from the street, leaving the ridges and chimneys of the heritage frontage firmly in the limelight.

‘Our aim was to retain as much of the existing building fabric and structural envelope as possible,’ says Annabelle. ‘Keeping the existing staircase and heritage multi-gabled roof were paramount to this strategy.’ The pitched design allowed space for generous volumes throughout the extension, consistent with the tall ceilings at the front.

The interior restoration was largely cosmetic, establishing a continuous design attitude that would flow between the old and new spaces. Large steel-framed openings were installed between the sitting and dining rooms to funnel natural light directly into the hallway from the rear.

When it came to reflecting the heritage features in a contemporary light, the key lay in the detailing. Black zinc cladding informs the black mantle in the living room, while the tessellated tiles at the front entry are echoed in the bathroom floors and the kitchen splash-back. Face brickwork, windows and stained glass windows were restored, while new roof tiles, gutters and downpipes were installed to replace old ones.

Despite the subtle and painstaking lines and materiality that facilitate a seamless connection between the old and new spaces, it’s the light-filled kitchen that’s the architects’ favourite part of the completed project. Around its generous proportions lies a butler’s pantry, mud room 8-metre long veggie garden.

‘The renovation has given a clear purpose to each and every space, and can now keep up with the ever-changing family demands,’ says Annabelle. The result is a robust, highly functional, yet effortlessly elegant family home.

See more projects from Studiofour here.

Recent Architecture