A Thoughtfully Renovated Mid-Century Home, With A Geometric Twist

A striking balcony and its retro-inspired frame anchors this Melbourne mid-century home firmly in the present, while also being a love letter to the past.

Architects Green Sheep Collective took cues from the home’s existing modernist aesthetic, to create  a new geometric structure that’s completely transformed the family home – without the need for an extension.

50/50s House’s restrained renovation makes way for a new series of spaces that help the living zones spill into the outdoors, where a lush new garden awaits.

Christina Karras

50/50s House by s Green Sheep Collective. Photo – Emma Cross

The exterior features a triangulated carport and balcony structure that frames views to the garden and city beyond. Photo – Emma Cross

The project was created in collaboration with landscape architects AKAS, who designed the site’s luscious garden. Photo – Emma Cross

‘The brief required the provision of both a balcony and carport but we found that by combining them into one structure we were able to solve a series of other design issues,’ Green Sheep Collective director Shae Parker McCashen says. Photo – Emma Cross

The unique structure is reminiscent of mid-century Modernist facades. Photo – Emma Cross

It connects a spacious balcony to the upper level’s living spaces. Photo – Emma Cross

The open-air structure provides shade, while also improving the house’s connection to the garden below. Photo – Emma Cross

Bold lines and playful geometry work in tandem with the charm of the existing house. Photo – Emma Cross

The colour and material palette used throughout is simple, featuring a mix of white complemented by rich timber and cork elements. Photo – Emma Cross

‘The expansive use of white and light greys was implemented to create bright living spaces that act as the backdrop to our clients’ unique and vibrant furniture, books and trinkets,’ Shae says. Photo – Emma Cross

‘In lieu of a bold colour palette we used distinct geometry and clear delineation of cabinetry, tiling and framing to create a striking effect.’ Photo – Emma Cross

The renovated house feels equal parts contemporary and retro since being reconfigured. Photo – Emma Cross

The new kitchen replaced a dark and dated fit out. Photo – Emma Cross

The entire renovation from initial engagement to completion took about 22 months. Photo – Emma Cross

Christina Karras
10th of February 2023

Nestled in Pascoe Vale, 50/50s House is a renovated mid-century gem with an eye-catching geometric feature that extends from the facade. But the unique triangular frame that encases a balcony above, and a carport below, isn’t just for aesthetics. In fact, it helped solve a number of design issues in one clever swoop.

A Melbourne family with two young kids engaged architects Green Sheep Collective to help modernise their property, which featured poor air circulation as a result of the dark and disjointed living rooms in a late-century addition in the rear.

‘While many of the design elements have stood the test of time, spaces such as the kitchen had dated and needed significant maintenance,’ Green Sheep Collective director Shae Parker McCashen says.

‘Our ultimate goal was to create a beautiful home that championed a mid-century character yet could accommodate and reflect modern lifestyles.’

In addition to updating the home’s functionality, the development of the garden – and its connection to the living spaces – was at the heart of the renovation. The resulting redesign navigated this by reconfiguring the floorplan, working almost entirely within the existing footprint to improve thermal thermal efficacy. But the main challenge was that the living spaces on the upper floor felt cut off from the garden below.

‘These obstacles were both overcome by the introduction of the balcony structure which facilitates outdoor living with views over the garden while also shading the western elevation,’ Shae says.

The triangular forms in the structure’s metal frame were inspired bold geometric shapes seen throughout the mid-century and are nod to similar rectangular detailing in the home’s existing interior.

‘The structure has transformed a cover-less driveway sided by a sheer two-storey wall into a dynamic series of spaces that help the indoor living spaces spill to the outdoors,’ Shae adds. It’s also been designed to hero AKAS Landscape’s lush garden, with views of the city beyond, and allows vines to grow up the sides – ‘literally bringing the garden’ to the upper floor!

Despite only adding 4 square metres to the internal footprint, 50/50s House makes the most of this retro home for years to come, proving how a series of small changes can have a big impact.

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