Director of Architecture Architecture Michael Roper paints a clear picture when describing the previous state of this Brunswick house. ‘As we found it, the house was a tired, muttering Victorian with crooked teeth and stains down its front. The usual accretion of half-baked extensions and questionable fit-outs.’
Just as evocative is Michael’s poetic recounting of the clients’ brief, which focused more on creating a certain feeling, rather than material items. ‘They had an interest in blurred thresholds, distant views, intimate spaces, tactile materials, and the play of light,’ he says.
Inspiration for these elements was drawn from the clients’ respective upbringings: one in rural New Zealand, where braided rivers cut through mountain ranges, and the other on the dry west coast of South Australia, dotted with white beaches and granite boulders.
The clients spoke openly about their aspirations for the home, without ever being prescriptive, allowing Architecture Architecture’s vision to naturally unfold. ‘Our vision for the project drew primarily from our clients’ beautifully-crafted brief; evocative enough that all we needed to do was follow it, like a treasure map,’ Michael says.
The resulting home sees a patchwork of original rooms retained, with new spaces woven through and above them. Some original rooms enjoy their restored charms, while others have been transformed into courtyards.
Materials were chosen for their modesty, tactility, and ability to change over time, such as oiled timber, raw concrete, galvanised steel, and bagged brick with a subtle pink pigment. ‘Unlike paint, which can flatten, the pigmented mortar allows a variation of brick tones to shine through, while still lending it a blush of colour,’ explains Michael of the latter material’s benefits. ‘It feels more natural, subtle and dreamy.’
The architect credits the true craftsmanship of Moon Building Group for achieving this seemingly relaxed and uncomplicated built form.
The rejuvenated home functions like a garden path, where each space draws you into the next, all the way from the front gate to the laneway out the back. Rooms unfold to offer various light, texture and views, serving as an homage to the owners’ upbringings in nature.