The owner of Hannan House 2 had already spent ‘years’ restoring the modernist home before recently engaging interior design practice Alexi Robinson Studio to rework the kitchen — the final piece that would help bring the endearing home into the 21st century.
He bought the home in 2016 but had developed an affinity for the property long before, having grown up in the house next door, known as Hannan House 1. Both homes were originally owned and created by artist Shirley Hannan, who’s eclectic and creative touch filled them with charm. Her bespoke copper fittings and fixtures are the perfect counterpart for Hannan House 2’s rustic-faced brick and timber details, all of which the owner was careful to maintain for the home’s next chapter.
‘Since purchasing the property, the owner had worked to preserve the building in as close to its natural state as possible,’ director and founder Alexi Robinson says. ‘However, updates were needed to improve thermal comfort, energy efficiency and underperforming spaces such as the kitchen.’
They retained the structure of the existing ‘modest sized kitchen’, with its separate breakfast table and tall cupboards framing a servery to the adjacent dining room. The brief was focused on championing the original materials, which lead Alexi down a ‘delicate journey’ of working around what was already there.
It was lacking storage, and the U-shape layout meant cooking took place in the corner of the room facing the wall. The new design has been carefully reconfigured to face towards a set of glass doors, capturing a view of the home’s protected courtyard and Japanese-inspired waterfall. This made way for new joinery, while widening the kitchen doorway also allowed those sitting at the island bench to look out to the pool.
‘Copper ceiling lights were left untouched, and the location of Shirley’s metal pendant light was adapted slightly to reflect the new layout,’ she adds.
‘Remaining true to the spirit of Palliser’s design, timber veneer and copper and bronze fittings were selected with some deviation in timber species to achieve a richer, warmer tone — the original kitchen had black honed granite benchtops and dark-stained timber veneer which together felt heavy in the space.’
This was replaced with a distinctive breccia-veined marble with earthy blush and olive tones, that contrasts beautifully against the earthy materials as the light changes throughout the day.
These thoughtful changes have helped the kitchen ‘evolve from a place to cook and serve’ into a more inviting, integral part of the home, without losing touch with it’s mid-century roots. And it only took three months to complete the renovations.
‘The best way to preserve mid-century homes it to make them liveable by today’s standards,’ Alexi says, noting how important it is that Hannan House 2 has also been reshaped to match the owner’s lifestyle, as ‘an Italian who loves to cook’.
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