Terrazzo Tiles Are The Real Protagonists of This Home Renovation


This 1940s semi-detached brick home in Flemington has been kept in the same family since it was built. The current owner is the great grandnephew of the original owner, and he wanted to honour the heritage of the home.

We spoke with Lisa Breeze, of Lisa Breeze Architect, to find out more about the home and she worked to incorporate many of the lovely older features into a more contemporary home.


Do you have any details on the client brief?

The brief was to renovate and upgrade the existing house. Through a few early design explorations, we decided that a small extension combined with the overhaul of the layout of the back of the home was required to achieve what the owners were after. This included a new kitchen and bathroom, rear glazed facade that opens on to a freshly landscaped back yard and updates to the front of the home including the bedrooms, living room and entry.


What mid century influences did you want to include?

The overarching inspiration was the existing house and the era that it was originally built in – post WWII heritage with midcentury elements.

We used references from the old kitchen – such as the colour to the curves to the picture-frame cabinetry detail of the old cupboards and drawers.

We designed a contemporary fluted glass cabinet display and used the same glass for the bathroom glazing. Square glazed ceramic tiles and steel framed windows were also queues that were taken from the era.

Brick was used for the extension with a subtle stack bond detail on the wall ends. The new side gate was modelled on an existing gate from a similar house down the road. And the circle window in the Bathroom door was modelled on the original front door.


What do you think was so special about this period in design?

This period in design seemed to balance practicality and aesthetics nicely, especially this home. It is, and was, sweet and simple.


What were your challenges for this project?

The most challenging design aspect of this project was selecting which heritage aspects to work with for inspiration, and which ones to let go of.

It’s a fine line between honouring the past and creating a home that suits now and into the future.

The overall layout is a good example of this – a combined open kitchen and meals area is counter to the way houses were built and planned in the 1940s but now we put a huge importance on sharing these spaces and connecting them to the outdoors.


What in your opinion are the best features of the home?

I love how much detail and intrigue we have packed into a small area. It goes to show a home can be beautiful and functional without being large. Quality over quantity every time.

Last but not least, do you have any tips for people interested in buying a midcentury house? What should they pay attention to and why?

On a practical level, understanding the state of the building is important to grasp so that the amount of work to upgrade and renovate is understood before purchasing.

On an emotional level, pay attention to the detail and character of the home and consider how these aspects may be adapted for contemporary living.

And this is certainly something Lisa has captured and achieved to great success in this beautiful home.


Photos by Cathy Schusler