East meets west

Herald Sun - Property - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

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