Before + After: How This Renovated 1950s Home Celebrates Its Hypnotic Past

Before being renovated, this Melbourne mid-century property had remained untouched since it was built in the 1950s.

The original owner was a hypnotherapist who had run a clinic from the back section of the house, leaving this part of the property with plenty of quirks — including padded doors; two-way mirrors; timber panels; and original ‘waiting room’ signs.

With the help of MJ Harris Group, the present-day owners have given the Reservoir residence a new lease on life, turning it into a modern family home with nods to its retro roots!

Christina Karras

Emma Slade, Paloma Escobedo

Inside the recently renovated Reservoir home by MJ Harris Group.

The renovation was designed to highlight the client’s love of mid century-modern features, with timber and terrazzo.

The original kitchen was small and pokey with no connection to the rest of the house or living spaces, but the renovation has transformed the space entirely!

The designers took inspiration from the new curves on the home’s facade to create similar soft curves in the batten entry wall, the island bench and joinery.

‘The clients were looking for wood to be showcased as a feature within the home, to celebrate the original timber battens and features that remain from the buildings origins.’

A new rendered wall links what was the existing home with the old hypnosis rooms.

Bronze accents were also used throughout the interiors to echo the existing bronze wall scones.

A retro circle window is a playful feature in one of the living rooms.

The 1950s home’s existing timber panels were retained in the renovation.

They embraced all the building’s quirks, including the thick walls and padded doors as part of its resulting charm!

By creating a larger jack and jill master ensuite that also services the front end of the house, they were able to utilise the space better than trying to find room for two separate bathrooms.

Gunmetal tapware and deep blue mosaic finger tiles complement the tones of the terrazzo stone.

The home before!

Christina Karras

Emma Slade, Paloma Escobedo

10th of July 2023
Design + Build

Reservoir, VIC/Wurundjeri Country

A former hypnotherapist’s office isn’t exactly the image that springs to mind when you think of your ideal family home.

But that’s the unique history that lies behind this Reservoir abode in Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs!

The owners had purchased the quirky property in 2014. They could see the potential to embrace its mid-century look and decided to transform it into their family home — despite its long list of faults — and engaged MJ Harris Group for the renovation.

‘The main brief we received from the client was to connect the two separate dwellings of this home together, to make one practical home for modern family living,’ architect Paloma Escobedo says.

While the ‘pokey’ kitchen was a particular focus of the renovation, they also had to tackle the rear of the home, which had served as the old hypnotherapist’s office, featuring padded doors, extremely thick walls, two-way mirrors, speakers, the original ‘waiting room’ signs and brass wall sconces.

But rather than ‘totally delete these features’, they repurposed them in the home’s refresh that celebrated the building’s mid-century feel.

‘I think what’s really cool about this design is those features won’t exist in every other home — those are the things that will always make this project so special and unique,’ Paloma adds.

Luckily, the home also had some beautiful timber features that were able to be retained and enhanced with new wooden battens, joinery and terrazzo with chips of brown.

Using the same stone across the kitchen splashback, new double shower bathroom and flooring became a ‘constant connection’ between old and new spaces while adding a bit of fun and life to each space.

‘There was also some subtle and deeper greys in the terrazzo that we then incorporated into the colour scheme of the downstairs bathroom, by including gunmetal tapware and deep blue mosaic finger tiles,’ MJ Harris Group interior designer Emma Slade says.

‘We reused the existing bricks of the house for the extension, to create the new internal staircase, as the aim was to retain as many existing materials as possible.’

A rendered wall, terrazzo flooring, brass trims and new brass wall sconces to match mark the transition from the old hypnosis rooms and the new part of the house. And the old floorplan that was ‘a bit of a maze’ is now open and functional, complete with spaces for entertaining.

Recent Interiors