SUB­UR­BAN LEG­END

The eye-catch­ing Gryphon House in El­wood is up for grabs

Herald Sun - Property - - FRONT PAGE - WORDS: SCOTT CARBINES

BE­HIND a red brick Ed­war­dian fa­cade a myth­i­cal beast lies dor­mant in El­wood.

The Gryphon House at 21-23 Thack­eray St is un­like any­thing else on the streets of Mel­bourne — so much so it has been pro­tected by the City of Port Phillip.

Ar­chi­tect Si­mon Thorn­ton de­signed the en­vi­ron­men­tally-sus­tain­able five-bed­room abode about 10 years ago and said the idea came in the mid­dle of the night.

“The orig­i­nal own­ers were peo­ple who were re­ally into their house ex­press­ing some­thing about fan­tasy and imag­i­na­tion and that ad­dressed the in­ner child that’s within all of us,” Mr Thorn­ton said. “And in ad­di­tion to that, some­thing that would be ap­peal­ing to chil­dren be­cause they had foster chil­dren who they wanted to pro­vide an en­vi­ron­ment for. That’s the ground they set.

“The brief re­sulted in an ex­ten­sion that in­cor­po­rated a lion’s tail shaped chim­ney, so­lar pan­els re­sem­bling ea­gle feath­ers and a top floor med­i­ta­tion space in the shape of the beast’s head.

“We tried to al­lo­cate rooms into the old house that did not de­pend so much on sun­shine or flow of space.

“So in that area there’s an of­fice, a mu­sic room, two bath­rooms and a bed­room, which also served as a home theatre room.”

The mod­ern part of the house fo­cuses on free-flow­ing liv­ing, with ex­pan­sive light-filled liv­ing and din­ing zones and the kitchen.

There’s also a tran­quil out­door space cen­tred around a pond.

So­lar power, hy­dronic heat­ing and water tanks are eco-friendly in­clu­sions.

Mr Thorn­ton said the prop­erty’s lo­ca­tion just steps from the beach helped in­spire the de­sign.

“I think the lo­ca­tion al­most gave per­mis­sion for that kind of ar­chi­tec­ture be­cause it’s just a few streets from St Kilda, which has a beach vibe and touristy, al­ter­na­tive cul­ture feel­ing,” he said.

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