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A New Timber Home Inspired By Music + Performance

Architecture

Music Box is a new Melbourne house tailored to every element of the musician owner and their partner’s lives.

Located on a triangular block in Elwood, the predominantly timber home (quietly mimicking the colour and textures of parkland to the north) stands as a modest but nonetheless significant building within the public realm, while providing specific features for an owner in their 70s.

Multiplicity navigated the awkward site and disparate interests of their two clients, by introducing contrasting intimate and soaring ceiling heights to form a wonderfully inviting and personalised home.

5th August, 2022

Music Box is a new Melbourne house tailored to every element of the musician owner and their partner’s lives. Photography – Trevor Mein

Sculpture by Angela Huber. Photography – Trevor Mein

Located on a triangular block in Elwood, the predominantly timber home (quietly mimicking the colour and textures of parkland to the north) stands as a modest but nonetheless significant building within the public realm. Photography – Trevor Mein

Artwork by Del Kathryn Barton. Photography – Trevor Mein

Underpinning the entire project are mature gum trees lining the longest stretch of the triangular block. By breaking down the form and program across the site, the architects were able to frame views of these treetops, in addition to referencing their texture in the material palette. Photography – Trevor Mein

The project contains a separate studio with its own street entrance. Photography – Trevor Mein

Artwork by Peter O’Doherty. Photography – Trevor Mein

The first-floor bedroom opens to an outdoor area. Photography – Trevor Mein

Lively red travertine mirrors the deep complexities of a landscape artwork. Photography – Trevor Mein

The ground floor entrance. Photography – Trevor Mein

The home spans three-storeys including the basement level. Photography – Trevor Mein

In replacing an interwar home, both the owners and architects were conscious of designing a new house respectful of the surrounding neighbourhood. The clients’ brief specifically outlined not to design ‘brutal, chest beating architecture.’ Photography – Trevor Mein

‘Our role was to gift the community a beautiful building’ say the architects. Photography – Trevor Mein

Amelia Barnes
Friday 5th August 2022

‘It was important that the house not only made the most of its beautiful surrounds, but that it made a positive contribution to the streetscape.’ – Cimone McIntosh 

Music Box, as it’s known, is a new home inspired by a client’s connection to music and performance, and informed by its triangular and leafy site established Elwood, Melbourne. 

The Multiplicity project started with some specific requirements — a basement, lift, car stacker, music room, and a separate studio with its own street entrance — to be designed on a challenging triangular 345 square metre site with height restrictions. 

In replacing an interwar home, both the owners and architects were conscious of designing a new house that would be respectful of the surrounding neighbourhood. The clients’ specifically briefed the architects not to design ‘brutal, chest beating architecture.’ Project architect Cimone McIntosh explains, ‘For both of them, it was important that the house not only made the most of its beautiful surrounds, but that it made a positive contribution to the streetscape —presenting beautifully and comfortably in the daytime as well as at night.’

Underpinning the project are mature gum trees lining the longest stretch of the block. By breaking down the form of the home across the site, the architects were able to frame views of these treetops, in addition to referencing their texture in the material palette. 

Timber cladding on the facade is intended to slowly grey and fade over time, receding back into the gentle colours of the surrounding gumtrees. Inside, soft silver travertine provides balance to deep red travertine in the bathrooms, whilst the communal spaces are characterised by warm timber and textural details. 

Various ceiling heights set the tone and function of the interior spaces, while catering to the owners’ differing tastes. One likes minimal spaces with high volumes, and the other is a maximalist who prefers intimate volumes.

Multiplicity created coffered ceilings to mediate the expectations of both clients, providing the height of tall ceilings with the cosiness of a more intimate setting.

Dramatic lighting throughout is reminiscent of a stage or theatre, adjustable to suit the feeling or mood. 

Cimone notes the ‘gentle presence’ of the completed three-storey home. ‘Whether it’s sitting and watching the rain dance on the maple leaves, or watching the dancing pattern of sun streaming through the windows, it makes you feel at ease.

‘It really is the owners’ private little sanctuary.’ 

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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