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An Architect’s Own Tranquil, Terrazzo-Filled Home

Architecture

Melbourne-based architect Lisa Breeze is the master of taking seemingly unremarkable homes, and making them special.

This Victorian house is Northcote is the second project Lisa has designed for herself (the first was equally delightful!), although this time, with her family in tow. 

What was once a rundown, dark period cottage has been transformed into a more spacious, highly functional family home, full of bold design flourishes!

17th May, 2022

The newly-extended family home designed by the owner, architect Lisa Breeze! Photo – Cathy Schusler. Styling – Natalie James

 

 

This period house is Northcote is the second project Lisa has designed for herself. Photo – Cathy Schusler. Styling – Natalie James

What was an unremarkable, draughty house has been renovated and extended to be highly functional, more sustainable, and full of calming blue hues. Window beach seat top in Laminex Spinifex. Photo – Cathy Schusler. Styling – Natalie James

The dining area looks out to the backyard featuring informal paving and freshly landscaping by Amanda Oliver Gardens. Window bench seat top in Laminex Spinifex. Photo – Cathy Schusler. Styling – Natalie James

Artwork by Tonee Messiah. Photo – Cathy Schusler. Styling – Natalie James

All rooms under the old roof were meanwhile retained to maintain the integrity of the old cottage, including the front two bedrooms. Photo – Cathy Schusler. Styling – Natalie James

Artwork by Louise Tuckwell. Photo – Cathy Schusler. Styling – Natalie James

The retro inspired bathroom. Photo – Cathy Schusler. Styling – Natalie James

Artwork by Marisa Purcell. Photo – Cathy Schusler. Styling – Natalie James

Even the cats have their own holes and nooks in this home to explore! Artwork by Bridie Gillman. Photo – Cathy Schusler. Styling – Natalie James

The restored Victorian facade. Photo – Cathy Schusler. Styling – Natalie James

The old house is a sweet cottage sitting in a narrow street that predominantly consists of converted warehouses, new apartment buildings, and car parks. Photo – Cathy Schusler. Styling – Natalie James

Amelia Barnes
Tuesday 17th May 2022

In search of a new home renovation project and more space, architect Lisa Breeze and her husband bought a period home in Melbourne’s Northcote in 2019. 

The double-fronted Victorian cottage was located on a small site in a dense street, with unremarkable interiors and a poorly built extension. ‘It was liveable, but not great,’ says Lisa. 

The architect sought to neaten up the period facade, retain the original rooms at the front, and replace the existing extension. They brought in builders Never Stop Group who were up for the challenge.

While Lisa’s husband was keen to renovate, he was generally happy for Lisa to guide the project, which was both a blessing and a curse! ‘My husband was enthusiastic about the whole endeavour but impartial to the details, leaving things open for me to test and explore design ideas,’ Lisa explains. ‘The downside to this was that there was no real feedback, the upside is that the process could unfold quite a bit faster than usual!’

As the home is built to the boundary on both sides, it essentially functions like a terrace. ‘This makes access to light, air, and circulation, plus simply fitting everything in, quite tricky,’ says Lisa. To overcome this, in the new extension she created a more open living area; converted the previous meals area into a third bedroom; and turned the previous living space into a bathroom, powder room and laundry. Meanwhile, at the front of the house, all rooms under the old roof were retained, to maintain the integrity of the old cottage.

The formerly paved ‘shambolic’ outdoor space was also completely overhauled to feature informal paving and fresh landscaping by Amanda Oliver Gardens

Inside, the home feels surprisingly bright and contemporary, thanks to a fresh new materials palette including timber floors, terrazzo and ceramic tiles, and a stainless steel kitchen bench (‘It’s indestructible!’ says Lisa) and various shades of blue. ‘The colours are soft and calming throughout: moody in the old part of the home and bright with the natural light in the extension,’ Lisa says.

Everything now fits together in the compact space, creating a relaxed, cosy, and light-filled home for two adults, a baby, and their pets. 

‘We can both work at home comfortably at the same time — a feature that was designed into the home before knowing that would become a necessity for how we live and work now’ Lisa explains.

‘The baby has her own space, and as you can see, the pets think it’s pretty great too!’ 

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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. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net