When renovating a traditional or heritage house, it's important to strike a balance between imitation of previous era and total elimination of the home's original character. You gravitated towards a home filled with history for a reason, so in renovating, try to capture the spirit of the era and interpret it in modern ways, rather than attempt to replicate or reconstruct which will never feel authentic. B.E. Architecture took this approach to renovating a Melbourne terrace for a modern multi-generational family...
Multi-generational living is a dynamic that we are seeing more of lately. When more than two generations of the same family want to live together, the design needs to accomodate for at least two groups of adults, both with varying needs. In this case, the architects have provided a variety of different spaces. While all cooking and dining facilities are communal, seperate lounge spaces mean each family member can find their own private space to retreat when needs be. A a seperate, self-contained guest house is home to the eldest generation (a modern granny flat if you will).
B.E. Architecture have created a distinguished home which highlights the various layers of history at work. On the front facade, for example, the architects removed the traditional paintwork to reveal original concrete and brickwork. Areas of patching on this newly revealed facade are clearly evident, making clear the recent restoration work. This adds to the unique character of the home, helping the home to tell a story of its occupation over time.
"Neither a replica of the past nor a total elimination of the original character, the house has been reimagined to create its own language that embraces the legacy of time in a re-envisioned way." - B.E. Architecture
The architects have told the story of the home's past in a modern way. Using simplified coved cornices (instead of the traditionally ornate versions) and a reduced version of skirting boards and architraves, these clean-lined versions of the originals suggest ornamentation without excess and are more pleasing to modern, minimalist tastes.
Custom joinery including floor to ceiling bookshelves provide for the needs of modern living, while respecting the proportions and style of the original home. This attention to craftsmanship is a nod to the past, while providing for the needs of today.
Texture is the other technique the architects have used to represent the grandiose qualities of the Victorian era, while still feeling fresh and modern. Wood panelling, grooved panelling on the ceilings and tile and marble in the kitchens and bathrooms are rich details, but neutral tones and an honesty of materiality keeps the home feeling restrained.
"The Park Street Residence is a house that creates a narrative revealing a layered history. More than just a reconstruction, the design uncovers a new life for the traditional Victorian house, creating a distinguished home for three generations of inhabitants."