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Victorian-style Facade Hides Super Modern Architecture

Located in a coastal community just outside Melbourne, Australia, this family home is the result of an extensive renovation and expansion. Originally a Victorian-style suburban home with work last done on it in 1989, the residence has now become a sweeping modern dwelling with the help of the architecture firm of Jackson Clements Burrows. Concrete, wood planks, and metal define the exterior, while a free-flowing open plan has reinvented the insides. The addition and renovation is intelligent: second-floor rooms are kept private through a novel configuration of windows, and multiple living spaces give varying levels of formality for different activities. It’s also luxurious: the new kitchen comes equipped with chef’s appliances, and hundreds of decor details are well-planned and well-executed. The renovation has given this home new life, and made it truly competitive architecturally with any other modern residence out there.
At the same time, careful consideration was given to the historical value of the home and to preserving the more attractive aspects of its Victorian design. In fact, the architecture of the house almost hasn’t changed at all from the very front, where it still wears its original facade. Inside, too, many decor elements and layout cues are kept in place. The presence of a formal sitting room and dining room off the front foyer of the house is a historical touch, and a private study gives a traditional feel as well. Even in the most contemporary areas of the interior you can find the influence of the home’s old form, with chandeliers and furnishing reminiscent of older styles. True antique touches are included in a completely modern design to invoke a sense of permanence in the dwelling, even when it’s completely reinvented.

From the front, it is nearly impossible to discern even the slightest hint of the modern home that lies beyond these walls. The architects and owners of the building chose to keep its Victorian influences fully intact on the side of the street, keeping its design in line with the rest of the neighborhood while also enhancing the wow factor once visitors come inside.
The rear facade of the home is nearly the polar opposite of the front, with cubic edges, industrial-chic materials, and a darker overall color palette. The addition done by the architects is thorough and sweeping, completely redefining the residence.
Under different lighting conditions and angles, the slatted wood covering on the outside of the second floor can appear as either dark and weathered or a smooth cream hue.
The home’s extension puts a focus on outdoor life, with a spacious outdoor courtyard at its center and a long wooden deck at one edge, complete with a built-in outdoor fireplace. Part of the deck is sheltered from the elements by the end of one wing of the house which juts over it.
Since the home’s property is in a fairly populous suburban area dominated by one-story homes, many of its larger windows on the second floor feature horizontal metal slat patterns to keep prying eyes out and to regulate the sunlight entering the dwelling.
Wooden boards cover both the floor and ceiling of the house’s rear deck, lending a sense of completeness and luxury to the renovation. Well-placed outdoor lighting all over the house keeps the space usable for hosting or relaxing even at night.
The house occupies a long, relatively thin property parcel, with a brand new garage and workshop situated at its far end mimicking the architectural style of the master structure.
Every one of the dwelling’s numerous living and dining spaces has its own unique appointments and decor, giving varying levels of formality to each. This small, casual living room sits just off both the deck and the courtyard, and next to the house’s kitchen.
The entire lower floor of this arm of the home is taken up by the kitchen and its adjoined sitting space, done up in textured black and glossy white finishes. A single shelving structure runs the entire length of one wall here, transitioning from a TV stand to a kitchen countertop.
The kitchen features huge professional-grade stainless steel appliances, plenty of spot lighting, and a casual eating table in its center. Most cooking materials are kept in the lines of contemporary drawers under the counter, while display pieces are mounted on shelves above.
Throughout the building’s interior, splashes of colorful and creative artwork are used to break up each room’s general decor theme and to bring further visual interest to each wing.
The main living room of the residence as a whole is this spacious area, located just behind the outdoor courtyard. The windows providing sight out into the yard are almost ceiling height, lining up with the sliding glass doors that lead outside.
A more formal dining area sits just behind the fireplace, with dark appointments and elegant fixtures. Additional storage is built subtly into the rear of the fireplace column, and the opposite wall contains a space crammed with books.
Whereas the living room has a full window set showing grand views of the courtyard and the lawn beyond, the dining room has only a single doorway and a thin window slat. Here, the attention is drawn inward to the company at the table.
Inside the parts of the home which existed prior to its expansion, many traditional elements are kept or even enhanced. The ceiling patterns and crown molding here all predate the renovation, but still give an exquisite charm and help marry the modern and traditional influences of the building.
A final living and dining room combination, set near the front entrance of the home, exudes formal elegance, perfect for hosting dinner guests. The colors here are warm and subdued.
Another area of the house that was left moderately unchanged is this formal study, which shares its wall and ceiling coverings with the front foyer but is painted the opposite color to help contract the space and give it a more personal atmosphere.
One last living space, looking out over the courtyard, is the most casual and spacious. The squared-off media center gives a focal point, as well as creating a passageway at its rear for travel into the side wing.
In terms of surface shapes, this bathroom is very minimalistic and calming. A few select hues enhance the environment, instead of a simple two-tone combination.
Jackson Clements Burrows


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