Frankston Mid Century Modern was "originally designed by architect and football legend Jack Clarke in 1963 for the family of his structural engineer", explains Antony Martin of MRTN Architects. Since then it remained the home of the original owners and had seen few changes over the years. So when Antony's clients purchased the property it was a virtually intact mid-century modern home, packed full of charm, but in need of attention and TLC (see the before photos towards the end of the article)...
Luckily the new owners weren't interested in demolishing this unique home to make way for yet another McMansion as is often the case. Instead, they were committed to restoring the house and making only minor changes to create a comfortable contemporary home. MRTN Architects explored the history of the home to inspire its future. "Our design reimagines the original home through the lens of the source images that most likely was a source of inspiration for Jack Clarke", explains Antony. "Referencing photographs taken by Julius Shulman of fifties and sixties West Coast architecture we developed a palette appropriate to the time while making only minor changes to the outward appearance of the house."
The floor plan of the home is centred around a central services core which allows all of the rooms to open onto the outdoors. The house was also positioned on the block at a 45-degree angle which creates a dramatic angle towards the street and also orients living areas towards the north.
Overall there was only a minor increase in the floor area of the home. An ensuite was added to the main bedroom and the south wall of the bedrooms was pushed out in line with the original eave. The southern wall had deteriorated thanks to 50-plus years of exposure to harsh sea winds, so it was a good opportunity to give the bedrooms a little more space. Beyond this, the most dramatic change was lifting the roof to increase the ceiling height which was only 2.2 metres at its lowest point in the bedrooms.
Virtually every surface, however, was updated, replaced or re-finished to counteract the deterioration over time. The kitchen has been recreated in American walnut veneer, natural fired clay tiles were laid throughout the living areas and cedar boards line the services core, all materials drawn from the mid-century period.
A new outdoor living terrace with crazy paving (of course) was created to the north and a pergola constructed over to encourage indoor-outdoor living.
Where new walls were constructed for the ensuite, a hit-and-miss brick pattern was used, a popular technique of the era. The pattern creates a screen for the ensuite's window and a textural pattern which captures light and shadow brings the new wall to life.
The bathroom reinterprets the mid-century style with an incredible penny-round-tiled bath and mint-green colour scheme.
"The design incorporates original features and materials to create an almost seamless result that leaves one wondering where the old has been replaced by the new. The home is now well placed for the optimism of the new owners and preserved for many years to come." MRTN Architects
Exterior from Street Before
Exterior from Rear Before
You can see from these before photos just how dramatically the home has been transformed by MRTN Architect's work, bringing a special, but tired home into the current age without by enhancing what makes it great.