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A Colourful Extension Inspired By Clinker Bricks

Architecture

A ‘clinker’ is a type of red brick that has been misfired, overcooked or burnt, a process which gives them a mottled blue-ish black, orangey-red tonality. They were previously discarded as a material until the 1930s, when they were popularised to build modest, cookie-cutter dwellings en masse like this one in Preston. 

The new owners engaged Wowowa to create an extension that would be in keeping with the home’s clinker brick personality, art deco features and their own modern preferences. 

The result is this raspberry and duck egg blue marvel. Hey, presto!

1st July, 2022

Raspberry shades and duck-egg blue are taken from the mottled tones of the ‘clinker’ bricks. Photo – Martina Gemmola. Stylist – Ruth Welsby.

Exterior scoops are inspired by typical art deco elements. Photo – Martina Gemmola. Stylist – Ruth Welsby.

The ‘reverse turret’ is a key example of the specific geometry Wowowa devised for this project. Photo – Martina Gemmola. Stylist – Ruth Welsby.

Maroon and pale blue colours continue inside where they create a bold but balanced palette. Photo – Martina Gemmola. Stylist – Ruth Welsby.

Timber floors and countertops bring a natural softness to the lacquered cabinetry and geomtric brickwork. Photo – Martina Gemmola. Stylist – Ruth Welsby.

A mirror fashioned in an art deco shape. Photo – Martina Gemmola. Stylist – Ruth Welsby.

The original rooms at the front of the 1930s Preston house were retained as bedrooms and a formal lounge. Photo – Martina Gemmola. Stylist – Ruth Welsby.

The rear ceilings come in at 4.5 metres high, providing ample access to natural light and a green outlook. Photo – Martina Gemmola. Stylist – Ruth Welsby.

Sasha Gattermayr
Friday 1st July 2022

‘We first identify what is beautiful and interesting and ornate and delightful about the original, existing condition of the house and then we embellish those features.’ – Monique Woodward

Architect and director of Wowowa Monique Woodward has a ‘soft spot’ for retro brick. When it came to designing an extension for an art deco house in Preston for a family of three, she was able to lean into the historic brick culture of the original structure.

‘Wowowa is always very sympathetic to the bones, and we try to be as period-correct as we can,’ she says. ‘We first identify what is beautiful and interesting and ornate and delightful about the original, existing condition of the house and then we embellish those features.’

While the front of the house remained intact to contain bedrooms and a formal lounge, the rear was ‘almost surgically removed’ and remodelled to fit a parents’ retreat, study and communal living quarters.

Lofty ceilings tower at 4.5m high, bringing ample natural light and garden views flooding into the main living, kitchen and dining area. The main bedroom suite is tucked under the eaves of this new ceiling height, and is only visible from the backyard.

The colour scheme was completely inspired by the clinkers themselves. The clients pulled out the raspberry maroon tones from the original brickwork and balanced it with a lighter blue to render a bold but balanced palette. 

Art deco elements plucked directly from the building’s provenance stitch the old and new sections of the home together. Monique looked to original details like ceiling roses to find era-appropriate shapes and patterns that could be applied to a new home. 

She riffed on these small heritage moments to generate the geometry of the project that can be seen on elements like the curved exterior scoops Monique calls a ‘reverse turret’. 

‘This project is very much of the clients. They were brave enough to pick out the colours that spoke to them,’ says Monique of the final combination of shapes, colours and colours and materials that comprise Presto.

‘This project has gotten such an incredible amount of traction and I think it’s because people can really see that there’s a lot of love and individuality in it. [No-one] should be scared of really leaning into who they are as people and what makes them happy, because these clients did just that.’

See more projects from Wowowa here.

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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