Belle - - Contents - Pho­to­graphs SHAN­NON McGRATH Words CARLI PHILIPS

A 60s mod­ernist house ben­e­fits from a light and bright faceli .

This 1960s mod­ernist house gets a perky­facelift that de­liv­ers light and vol­ume, en­hanced by colour­ful art and fur­ni­ture.

This page In the fam­ily room at the rear of the prop­erty is a leather sofa from Plush with cush­ions from Fen­ton & Fen­ton, Sa­fari Fu­sion and in African fab­rics from Kazari + Ziguzagu. Baby Doll art­work by Ba­gus Rai hangs above the sofa. White drum side ta­bles from Room 296. Blos­som­ing art­work by An­drew Wellman to the right. Op­po­site page The for­mer side drive­way of the house was re­claimed to pro­vide ex­tra liv­ing and stor­age space. Land­scape de­signer Pas­calle Dr­ever of Cielo De­sign Stu­dio se­lected a Queens­land bot­tle tree for the en­trance.

This page In the entry is a Tiwi Is­lands gure from Leonard Joel. Op­po­site page Nige­rian blue beaded chairs from Leonard Joel and a leather sofa from Plush in the fam­ily room. Dys­func­tional Camou age tiger gure by Troy Emery from Gould Gal­leries.

It took 15 months to trans­form this orig­i­nal 1960s mod­ernist home into a “20-year house” – a lit­tle longer than ex­pected, but signi cant for owner Kate Cowen who has led an itin­er­ant ex­is­tence, hav­ing lived in 12 houses around the world. For any ar­chi­tect, de­sign­ing a ‘for­ever house’ is a big re­spon­si­bil­ity. But to truly meet the client’s brief for a “house for liv­ing in” is es­pe­cially chal­leng­ing

“The jour­ney that the client and ar­chi­tect go on to­gether is in­volved and re­ward­ing. It can re­sult in places that are cher­ished by those who use, live and grow in them,” says co-di­rec­tor of Bower Ar­chi­tec­ture and In­te­ri­ors, Jade Vi­dal who, along with co-di­rec­tors Chema Bould and Anna Dut­ton, and Ben Shields were tasked with the re-build and ren­o­va­tion of this house in Mel­bourne’s St Kilda.

In pos­ses­sion of the orig­i­nal ar­chi­tec­tural draw­ings, Jade and Kate re­mained sen­si­tive to the house’s era, main­tain­ing it as one level rather than adding another storey. A se­ries of voids and gal­leries cre­ate ex­tra light and space, fos­ter­ing a “com­pres­sion and ex­pan­sion that lets the house breathe”, says Jade. Man­age­abil­ity was also a key mo­ti­va­tion for keep­ing the sin­gle level, with a kids’ zone at one end and adults at the other.

From the ex­te­rior, the house presents a mod­est, at-roofed frontage typ­i­cal of its era save for a new car­port, “cra­dled and soft­ened by a ver­ti­cal black­butt screen that is in­te­gral to the ar­rival jour­ney”, says Jade. The long drive­way orig­i­nally run­ning be­side the house was max­imised by push­ing the build­ing out to the bound­ary to ac­com­mo­date a stor­age area, util­i­ties, two bed­rooms and a rum­pus room where the orig­i­nal garage was lo­cated.

Ac­cessed from the side, an over­sized pivot door opens up into a oodlit, dou­ble-height, gran­ite-lined entry. To the right are the ex­ist­ing bed­rooms that have been trans­formed to com­pose an adults’ do­main. In­ter­nal ren­o­va­tions in­volved cre­at­ing a study, guestroom, pow­der room and mas­ter bed­room with en­suite. The re­main­der of the house, right up to the kids’ zone at the rear, couldn’t be sal­vaged and was re-built in its en­tirety, save for some ba­sic oor­ing.

A self-con­fessed “trawler and scavenger of things”, Kate was adamant that there be signi cant stor­age, and

This page, clock­wise from top le An­drew Wellman’s Blos­som­ing art­work makes a state­ment in the din­ing room. Mark Tuckey ta­ble. Sil­ver can­dle­sticks from Ex­hibit. Art­work by Mitjili Na­purrula in the entry. Teal tiles cre­ate a cool at­mos­phere in the bath­room. Vi­tra ‘Solo’ bath from Rogerseller. Kitchen bar stools are from The Chair Man. Bird sculp­ture was a gift from a friend. Op­po­site page In the liv­ing room, an arm­chair from the owner’s child­hood has been re­uphol­stered in a teal Mokum fab­ric. Dys­func­tional Camou age tiger „gure by Troy Emery.



» Home­owner Kate Cowen en­gaged Bower Ar­chi­tec­ture and In­te­ri­ors and LBA Con­struc­tion Group to re­model this 1960s mod­ernist home in Mel­bourne’s St Kilda. » Re­main­ing sen­si­tive to the era of the house, the ar­chi­tects main­tained its sin­gle-storey proƒle, choos­ing to ex­tend out across the for­mer side drive­way to cre­ate more liv­ing and stor­age space, and in­sert­ing voids and gal­leries to bring light and a feel­ing of spa­cious­ness to the home. » Play­ful ƒnishes and ƒxtures pro­vide tex­ture, warmth and whimsy, while the won­der­fully eclec­tic col­lec­tions and colour­ful mod­ern art­works as­sem­bled by self-con­fessed “trawler and scavenger of things” Kate pro­vide punch against the home’s neu­tral back­drop.

some­where to both stow and dis­play her col­lecta­bles. Ex­pan­sive walls pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for dis­play and in the study, a cus­tom shelv­ing sys­tem is grooved for in­ter­change­able steel ver­ti­cal inserts. Yet per­son­al­ity is not for­saken, and nishes, colour and tex­ture work to “bind ev­ery­thing to­gether” says Jade.

Play­ful de­tails and xtures ful l Kate’s de­sire for “tex­ture and warmth with a touch of whimsy”. Her daugh­ters share a sunny, ochre-tiled bath­room and the main bath­room fea­tures un­du­lat­ing teal tiles with the un­ex­pected ad­di­tion of a seashell mir­ror picked up at auc­tion. Hall­way cup­boards are ba­sic but nished with hand­made han­dles by crafts­men MadeMea­sure.

Rest­ing atop a Loom rug in the liv­ing-cum-din­ing area, a round ta­ble from Mark Tuckey was se­lected early in the pro­ject, a piece Jade says was “key to mak­ing the din­ing area work suc­cess­fully with the sur­round­ing spa­ces”. Par­ti­tion­ing the spa­cious liv­ing area from the kitchen is a blade wall which con­tains the “may­hem” and pro­vides a pin­board for pic­tures, pho­to­graphs and other para­pher­na­lia. “There is a rich­ness to all of Kate’s art, fur­ni­ture and items that is re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated when you see it all to­gether,” says Jade, de­scrib­ing the home as a “gallery for liv­ing”.

At the rear, the oor was dropped and the gar­den lifted to cre­ate a fam­ily room. The black­butt ceil­ing seam­lessly ex­tends through to the out­door eaves. A oorto-ceil­ing glass door opens di­rectly onto the deck and large gar­den with sky-high white breeze­way wall. Says Jade, “From the front there’s no per­cep­tion of the drama and sur­prises at the back. When a house is nished it should look like it’s al­ways been there. This home is a se­ries of ef­fort­less spa­ces that are meant to be.”

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