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.
“THERE I S A RICHNESS TO A L L K AT E’S A RT, FURNITURE AND I TEMS THAT I S R E A L LY A PPR ECIAT ED WHEN YOU SEE I T ALL TO G E T HER.”
» 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 prole, 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 nishes and xtures 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.”
For more go to bowerarchitecture.com.au.
“FROM THE FRONT THERE’S NO PERCEPTION OF THE DR AMA AND SURPRISES AT T H E B ACK.” This page The pool and back terrace are connected directly with the house via a oor-to-ceiling glass door. To reinforce the connection, the blackbutt ceiling from indoors extends to the outdoor eaves. White outdoor chairs from Oz Design Furniture. Round mosaic table from Supply & Demand. Opposite page Urban Roo gure by Robert Delves from Cook Street Collective in Flinders beside a Queensland bottle tree in the courtyard. Tiwi Islands gure from Leonard Joel in the entry.