This Elegantly Restored Red-Brick Home Hides Endearing New Interiors

Melbourne’s period homes are notorious for their charm, despite their (sometimes irreparable) functional flaws for modern day living.

Luckily, the owner of this red-brick Federation house didn’t ask for it to be knocked down or to create a dramatic modern extension, but rather for an ‘elegant restoration’. Using careful re-planning and some sleek modern-day interiors, Studio May have transformed the character-filled home, without costly structural alterations.

Christina Karras

The Brunswick East residence has a newfound connection to it’s leafy surrounds.

The original home had a beautiful warm feel and charming facade that remain intact after the renovations.

The existing hardwood floors and tessellated tiled floor inspired the interior palette.

But the sleek new kitchen brings a contemporary feel to the the home’s roots.

A central marble and spotted gum island bench forms the focal point of the kitchen.

A new large opening allows the kitchen to look out into an original stained-glass window.

The new layout has been expanded dramatically to rid the space of redundant partitions and doors, creating new views of the outdoors.

Textures of timber run bring warmth throughout the house.

A cosy living space.

The elegant feel of the resulting home was also influenced by the owners’ existing objects and furniture.

Christina Karras
4th of September 2023
Interior Design

Cardross Construction


Brunswick East, VIC/Wurundjeri Country

This red-brick Federation home in Brunswick East had a ‘beautiful warm energy’ both the owners and designers were eager to preserve in a recent renovation.

The property was in relatively good condition but the interiors were ‘a little tired’ and lacking connection to the garden, according to Studio May principal Naomi Webster.

The family engaged the interior architecture design studio with a simple brief that asked for an ‘elegant restoration’ of the property to re-shape their northern living spaces around their leafy outdoor spaces.

‘We were very lucky our client had a lovely aesthetic that we were able to easily build on,’ Naomi says. ‘From the outset, the existing finishes dictated our material direction.’

The original patchwork of aged flooring was restored, including a combination of baltic pine and Australian hardwood boards, tessellated tiling with bluestone thresholds. They also worked to revive the functionality of kitchen, which now features plenty of in-built storage and a central marble and spotted gum island that plays into the home’s period aesthetic.

‘A clean looking kitchen with stainless steel benchtops was driven by the clients brief for a space that had maximum resilience to wear and tear,’ Naomi says.

The addition of new large sliding doors was one of the most ‘transformative’ changes to the property. These now open the dining and kitchen to garden views and warm northern sunlight, while large openings improve the flow and connection between the an easy flow throughout the living areas, also turning the disconnected study into a bright and cosy ‘snug’.

Naomi says the team worked closely with the builder to carefully extend the existing lean-to without compromising the roof structure of the endearing architecture of the home. Impressively, most of the existing floorplan was left untouched too, proving how small changes really can make a world of difference.

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