In the heart of Carlton, this home’s design evokes the owner’s childhood in Indonesia
STEPPING into Arya Triadi’s home from Carlton’s bustling Elgin St is to enter an oasis of calm.
The heritage-listed residence has been redesigned from a “comfy but pretty old, draughty house” into a delightful fusion of modern minimalism and Bali-inspired design.
And the architecture graduate is chuffed, as are his mates. “My house is like a base camp for my friends,” said Mr Triadi (pictured).
“It’s very close to Melbourne Uni so when we were still studying we’d come and chill here to cook dinner, play games or have a drink. That tradition has continued on from there.”
Mr Triadi was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, but spent five years living with his family in Bali. He explained the house reflected his childhood. “I was trying to channel my upbringing in a classical tropical house by introducing timber floors, good air circulation and integrating nature.”
The nature bit plays out in the form of a soothing courtyard and tropical plants. And the plant theme extends to his bedroom, where he has homemade terrariums.
“I made the first one around the time I finished studying and found myself thinking: what am I going to do with my life? I better start filling the house!” he recalled, with a smile.
Mr Triadi and brother Rama Ariadi snapped up the Victorian terrace with family after a short hunt, attracted by its location. The decision to buy was prompted by a rather hairy co-living situation.
“I was living with my brother in one-bedroom twinshare student accommodation in Lygon St,” Mr Triadi explained. “It was very tight. We fought a lot because I needed more space for model making and making my big drawings. He studied international politics so all he needed was enough room for a laptop and a notebook.”
His brother has now moved back to Indonesia (yes, they’re still on good terms). Mr Triadi currently shares with one housemate and an amiable cat, Karlo, whose colours perfectly match with the black and white walls.
Mr Triadi hasn’t always experienced the house in its sublime state. For three years, he lived in it while it was unrenovated, before enlisting the talents of architect Wilson Tang of Sonelo Design Studio.
Because of the heritage listing, the facade had to be preserved. However, some walls in the gloomy back part of the house could be knocked down, which opened it right up into a central hangout zone. An upstairs level was also added, turning the home from a squeezy two-bedroom abode into a three-bedroom terrace house.
“Manipulating the sense of spaciousness and giving the house room to breathe were core to the alterations we made,” Mr Tang said.
“We placed a new lush courtyard before the new double-storey brick addition to provide a tranquil breathing space between the old and new, while the use of grey-tinted mirrors inside visually extends the depth of space.”
Other design highlights include an inward-opening timber door to the rear lane that gives ventilation while ensuring privacy, and a very cool sliding table.
“The bespoke dining table is hung from a mirrorclad wall and can effortlessly slide away to free up space for lounging,” Mr Tang said.
“It’s informed by Arya’s cultural heritage because in Indonesia, lounging on the floor is a common ritual for visiting guests or family.”