East meets west
ARCHITECT John Liu didn’t realise he had called on his Asian heritage in the design of his home until colleagues pointed out how Japanese the entrance appeared. Visitors to his Doncaster home are greeted by an enclosed porch and, once inside the house, a step up from the foyer to the main part of the home.
“In Japanese homes, there’s always a space for you to take your shoes off at the entry and it’s always one step lower than the actual house,” he said. “So I guess this is an Aussie version of it. It’s a transition between outside and the home; a real ritual of taking shoes off or putting shoes on.”
The head of his own architecture firm, Inbetween Architecture, Mr Liu spent his childhood in Taiwan, once a Japanese colony, and can see now how influenced he has been by his childhood surroundings.
Mr Liu and wife Judy bought the 1970s brick home in Melbourne’s east in 2009 and lived with the 1980s update by a previous owner — “all beige, with pink carpets” — until they could no longer deny the house needed a major renovation.
“Everything was falling apart, like the kitchen splashback tiles while we chopped our chicken,” Mr Liu said. “We sticky-taped everything back on and it wasn’t until we had the kids and we were one room short that we planned the renovation.”