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An Architect’s Own Mid-Century Beaumaris Home Restoration

Architecture

Melbourne’s bayside suburb of Beaumaris is home to many original mid-century homes and a passionate community dedicated to their preservation.

While many local houses have fallen victim to the wrecking ball in recent years, this 1956 property was saved by the owner, architect Wilko Doehring of Wilko Architecture, who personally restored it for his young family. 

The home today appears almost as it did in 1956, but with the energy efficient features of today.

14th November, 2022

Kinder House by Wilko Architecture is a restoration of a 1956 Beaumaris, Melbourne home. Photo – Derek Swalwell

The architect (also the owner builder) approached the restoration as though the home was heritage protected, despite the original architect being unknown and council not interested in its preservation.  Photo – Derek Swalwell

New joinery crafted from Tasmanian oak veneer. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Most of the old VJ lining needed to be replaced due to termite damage. Usable lining boards were carefully reused in the main timber feature wall. Photo – Derek Swalwell

A green kitchen rangehood and light fixt throughout provide an occasional pop of colour that resembles the old tea trees around the house. Photo – Derek Swalwell

The only structural changes made to the house was the removal of a wall between the kitchen and dining area, and in the bathroom. Photo – Derek Swalwell

A renovation in the ‘70s had seen the home given a ‘mission brown medieval makeover’ that Wilko stripped back to its original, more subdued state. ‘To make a small modest home look larger we found it beneficial to stay coherent with the materials and colours throughout the house which creates a nice flow between spaces,’ says Wilko. Photo – Derek Swalwell

‘To make a small modest home look larger we found it beneficial to stay coherent with the materials and colours throughout the house which creates a nice flow between spaces,’ says architect Wilko Doehring. Photo – Derek Swalwell

The updated contemporary bathroom. Photo – Derek Swalwell

While aesthetically restored, the original home’s energy efficiency was greatly improved in the renovation. Photo – Derek Swalwell

An outdoor incorporates existing trees on site. Photo – Derek Swalwell

The only visible new addition from the outside is the fence surrounding the front yard—a custom design by Wilko made from Queensland eucalyptus posts. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Beaumaris is home to many original mid-century homes and a passionate community dedicated to their preservation. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Photo – Derek Swalwell

The home today appears almost as it did in 1956, but with the energy efficient features of today. Photo – Derek Swalwell

Photos – Derek Swalwell

Amelia Barnes
Monday 14th November 2022

Not everyone views Beaumaris’ mid-century homes as architecturally significant, but those who do work tirelessly to ensure their preservation.

Architect Wilko Doehring of Wilko Architecture purchased this 1956 brick property in the Melbourne bayside suburb with his wife Liesl in 2014. The real estate listing didn’t even show the house’s interior, instead advertising the property as a ‘blank canvas’ on a ‘vacant block’ prime for redevelopment.

Wilko had other ideas, describing the house as a tired but classic example of mid-century architecture. ‘It was a bit tired but worth saving,’ he says. 

The architect approached the restoration as though the home was heritage protected, despite the original architect being unknown and council not interested in the property’s preservation. 

The only structural changes made to the house was the removal of a wall between the kitchen and dining area, and in the bathroom. Otherwise, renovations were limited to improving the home’s energy efficiency and cosmetically updating the interiors.

A renovation in the ‘70s had given the home a ‘mission brown medieval makeover’ that Wilko stripped back to its original, more subdued state. Carpets were removed to reveal the repaired timber floors; new joinery was crafted from Tasmanian oak veneer; and VJ lining was reused (where not termite damaged) or replaced. 

‘To make a small modest home look larger we found it beneficial to stay coherent with the materials and colours throughout the house, which creates a nice flow between spaces,’ says Wilko. 

A green kitchen rangehood and light fixtures throughout provide an occasional pop of colour that resembles the old tea trees around the house. 

While aesthetically restored, the original home’s energy efficiency has been greatly improved in the renovation. All rooms are now acoustically and thermally insulated; all doors were replaced with solid core doors; and 26 solar panels were installed on the property.

The only visible new addition from the outside is the fence surrounding the front yard—a custom design by Wilko made from Queensland eucalyptus posts.

Kinder House is featured in the newly-released book Beaumaris Modern 2 by Fiona Austin with Simon Reeves, published by Melbourne Books, RRP $65, available now.

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