Walking inside this renovated Perth home, it’s clear the warm, mid-century home has been updated. What’s less obvious is determining what parts of the home have been restored, and what parts are entirely new.
That’s exactly how Design Theory wanted the interiors to feel. Seamlessly refreshed, yet full of nostalgia.
The owner engaged the design firm to restore and reconcile the condition of the original house by Duncan, Stephen & Mercer with her modern lifestyle, in the hopes of creating a more functional space for herself and her dog.
Design Theory director Lisa Reeves says the architectural integrity of the house guided the studio’s design process from the very beginning.
‘We felt we had a duty to both conserve its cultural heritage and character, and improve its relevance,’ Lisa says. ‘The shortcomings were that it was in poor condition and required an entire overhaul of all timber framing, finishes and services.’
‘There was no insulation or cooling, a very small kitchen, and only one bathroom — elements that needed careful consideration to ensure the home could support contemporary living.’
The designers decided to alter the main bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and laundry within the original footprint of the home, and retain all other elements.
The kitchen became an L-shape to keep the large window clear of obstructions, while the central living room’s slanted, timber-lined ceiling also helped increase the home’s sense of space, with retro-framed windows that capture northern light.
Lisa says the home’s colour and materials selections were led by ‘the uniquely Western Australian landscape,’ drawing on everything from local sunsets to coastal grasses, and beaches for inspiration.
The Marmoleum floors featuring a burl-like pattern pair perfectly with the exposed red-brick walls, made even better through thoughtful details like a burnt orange stained-glass window and the kitchen’s playful orange stove. In contrast to the cosy brown and caramel tones, the bathroom feels like its own time capsule, complete with lime-green tiles and a matching basin.
‘The original bathroom floors were glass mosaics, typical of the era,’ Lisa says. ‘Unfortunately, the original mosaics could not be salvaged, so to honour the history of the building, we created a custom mosaic mix that speaks to the past, while also blending with the new palette of house.’
Lisa says she’s most proud of how the home feels: intimate, warm, and somewhere you want to spend as much time as possible.
‘We were able to keep the home’s original soul intact,’ she says. ‘The improvements around making it far more liveable, functional, and sustainable for our client have been extensive, however, they in many ways are hard to spot, or look like perhaps they have been there all along.’