Believe it or not, this grand Edwardian home in Hawthorn has no heritage listing and could have easily been demolished. Luckily, the owners appreciated its beauty, and called in WOWOWA to help reconcile its layered history with their vision for a modern home, that embraced the ‘chaos’ – and fun – of modern family life.
The home came with a number of challenges – a floorplan that featured lots of small rooms, and interiors that felt dark and cold due to ‘all the white and grey tones’ left over from a previous renovation.
WOWOWA Architecture director Monique Woodward says the brief was to reconfigure the home’s existing footprint to create suitable, open living spaces for the vibrant family of four. But it was also equally important that their reimagined residence had its own ‘contemporary visual language’ that could both complement and contrast the existing decorative manor.
‘Removing the “scar tissue” of the previous alteration opens up a main space for living, cooking, and dining,’ Monique says. ‘Defined by curved walls, expressed steel structures, shelves, hearth and kitchen bench, it is about being at once separate and together.’
The resulting redesign carefully avoided tinkering with original features such as fireplaces and archways, while stitching WOWOWA’s playful design approach into its rich period elements.
‘The colour prompts started with the original architecture – sanguine brickwork, grey bluestone, front door leadlight of lilacs and greens,’ Monique adds. ‘We were kind of Tim Tam-ing with the colour scheme, aways referring to luscious food references in our project colour palettes.’
These ideas were then translated in new and inventive ways, using rust colour-blocking across the exterior, concrete masonry with lilac mortar, and a gradient of warm tones across the home’s paving, terrazzo, joinery and paint finishes. They also drew inspiration from an Australiana-style colour platte for the calming green hues across the kitchen, which ties into the ‘modernist and bush’ gardens by Amanda Oliver.
‘The way the embossed terracotta terrace leads out into the garden feels so Italian. Sauntering out from the kitchen-living-dining during a soiree hosted by the clients felt like you were in a Fellini film – both stylish as hell and grand,’ Monique says.
‘This project is both homage and embellishment. Restraint and playfulness’ Monique continues, ‘ [it’s] a place to feel introverted, a cosy place for winter days, and has expansive spirit for entertaining.’ A spirited home, indeed!