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A Dramatic Extension To A Historic Melbourne Terrace... Made For Italophiles!

Architecture

Some of Melbourne’s most beautiful heritage homes are located in North Fitzroy, and ‘Hatherlie’ is no exception. This circa 1880 property was originally built for Samuel Lazarus – an eyewitness to the Eureka Stockade who kept a rare written record of these events, and later served as the jury foreman for the trial of Ned Kelly.

The terrace has had plenty of lives since then, having been extended in the 1980s, and divided into three parts to serve as multiple rental properties.

Andrew Simpson Architects were recently engaged to consolidate the home, restore its original features, add an Italian feel in keeping with the owners’ personality, and improve its sustainability.

The results are pretty major… They even turned the pool into a water storage/stormwater management system!

23rd March, 2021

Cedar lines the walls of this newly-extended North Fitzroy home. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Furniture, objects, art and styling – Simone Haag

Andrew Simpson Architects designed the contemporary extension that mirrors the generous proportions of the original terrace. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Furniture, objects, art and styling – Simone Haag

The front portion of the house was essentially restored, while additions in the centre were demolished and replaced. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Furniture, objects, art and styling – Simone Haag

The desire for natural light formed an important part of the internal experience. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Furniture, objects, art and styling – Simone Haag

The material palette includes American oak joinery and floorboards, off-form concrete bench tops and splash backs, and handmade brass sinks, Photo – Shannon McGrath. Furniture, objects, art and styling – Simone Haag

The stepped ground floorplan provides elevated and secluded quiet areas to experience the house and garden.  Photo – Shannon McGrath. Furniture, objects, art and styling – Simone Haag

Much of the old house was restored, including all windows (which were replaced) tiled verandah, upper deck, and all floor, wall and ceiling finishes.  Photo – Shannon McGrath. Furniture, objects, art and styling – Simone Haag

The moody, glamorous formal lounge. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Furniture, objects, art and styling – Simone Haag

This circa 1880 house was originally built for Samuel Lazarus – an eyewitness to the Eureka Stockade who kept a rare written record of these events, and later served as the jury foreman for the trial of Ned Kelly. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Furniture, objects, art and styling – Simone Haag

Modern furniture further elevates the original interiors. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Furniture, objects, art and styling – Simone Haag

The beautiful, original facade remains intact. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Furniture, objects, art and styling – Simone Haag

‘The interface between the landscape and architecture is wonderful…We collaborated closely with Renata Fairhall to come up with a very seamless design, where the interiors and garden flow together,’ says Andrew Simpson. Photo – Shannon McGrath. Furniture, objects, art and styling – Simone Haag

Amelia Barnes
Tuesday 23rd March 2021

‘We were fascinated by their admission of being Italophiles, with a fondness for the landscape of Tuscany where they were married.’ – Andrew Simpson

Andrew Simpson Architects were engaged to renovate and extend this historic late 1880s terrace in North Fitzroy. The brief was generally to refurbish and consolidate the entire property (that had been loosely divided into three different areas for renting) to suit a couple and their son.

The house is a classic late 1880s Melbourne terrace, but until recently, the interiors told a different story.

‘The unusual configuration of the existing house precipitated an extended conversation with the owners about what initially attracted them to the property,’ says director Andrew Simpson. ‘We were fascinated by their admission of being Italophiles, with a fondness for the landscape of Tuscany where they were married.’

This conversation inspired the extension, which features elements of 15th century Italian architecture evident in the existing home. ‘The siting of the building at the top of a hill, the central courtyard, the line of pencil pines, the use of water, and the importance of landscape all contributed to this inference,’ says Andrew.

There was also sufficient space on the block for a significant garden (unusual for an inner city property!), which the architects capitalised on in collaboration with garden designer Renata Fairhall.

Renovations saw the front portion of the house essentially restored, while additions in the centre were demolished. In their place, the architects designed a contemporary extension mirroring the generous proportions of the original home. ‘The geometry creates varied spatial experiences, expansion and contraction horizontally and vertically, reinforcing the series of stepped courtyards,’ says Andrew.

The material palette similarly reflects the rich warmth of the original dwelling, but with a contemporary edge, incorporating cedar wall and ceiling linings, American oak joinery and floorboards, concrete bench tops and splash backs, handmade brass sinks, limestone and bluestone paving, and charred silvertop ash cladding!

The age and layout of this home provided numerous challenges, including what to do with the awkwardly-located existing pool. Andrew Simpson Architects’ response – turn this into a water storage solution!

Much of the former pool now provides 40,000 litres of water storage to the home, while the small remaining portion serves as a planter for a deciduous crepe myrtle in the central courtyard.

Genius!

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