Houses from the Arts and Crafts movement encouraged an informal lifestyle featuring an open floor plan and natural, handcrafted materials.
This intent was diminished in a previous 1980s renovation of this Caulfield North house, which introduced some overwhelming bulky features and a new extension. In response, a ‘paring back approach’ was taken by Pipkorn Kilpatrick in a recent renovation to realign the house to its original design intent, peel away aspects that competed for attention, and create a more relaxing family environment.
Anna Skermer, co-founder of Pipkorn Kilpatrick explains, ‘While the windows and the overall proportions of the space worked well, many aspects of the design — decorative rectangular bulkheads, the stone feature wall framing the dining/living areas, and chunky timber cornices and mantles — were competing. The approach was therefore to pare back all detailing that overwhelmed.’
Stripping back the kitchen was a key focus of the project, allowing the ‘80s exposed stone surfaces to serve as the standalone focal point. Shiny, cream bench tops were replaced with textured granite that blends beautifully with the retained stone fireplace and island bench. The kitchen cupboards remained perfectly functional, so these were merely painted and refinished with new knobs for a new lease on life.
The remainder of the home was completely reworked for better flow and function, without the need for an extension. ‘Our lovely clients knew their home’s existing footprint was sufficient for their family of three daughters without having to extend into their much enjoyed backyard,’ says Anna.
An under-utilised nook became a powder room; the downstairs bathroom was expanded to become the main en suite; and the large upstairs bedroom was downsized to allow for a larger family bathroom and second powder room. To allow for this expansion, the client’s daughters gave up their inventive cubby space: a secret passage previously linking their two bedrooms through roof space. ‘Hopefully a worthwhile sacrifice!’ says Jane Kilpatrick, co-founder of Pipkorn Kilpatrick.
All period features (not already altered by the earlier 1980s renovation) were restored throughout the home, including its solid timber skirts, cornices, and architraves. Orange floorboards were sanded and resealed, and original wardrobes were either repurposed as desks or restored and extended.
Altogether, Pipkorn Kilpatrick have completely transformed this home, without adding to its existing footprint. ‘We feel there’s now flow and harmony between the original house and the extension, with the fresh palette of finishes providing the right balance of novelty without overwhelming,’ says Jane.
‘By making small structural changes to internal spaces that weren’t functioning, and minimal tweaks throughout, we’ve hopefully ensured our clients continue to enjoy their home well into the future.’