Text by Clinton Murray Architects
This fun renovation was carried out by Clinton Murray Architects in Seddon, Victoria, Australia.
We call Jo and Lincolns house, ‘the goldmine’. They bought the property in the late 90s for about $50 off Giuseppe and Francesca fleeing for Bulleen and now they can’t move for boutique wine bars.
The house when they bought it was falling down and so in stepped in Lincoln’s dodgy mate to build. Twenty years on they bore the fruit of that labour – the extension was demolishing itself at a leisurely pace.
The old house is the typical double fronted Victorian weatherboard. A window each for the front bedrooms, a long high hallway. This hallway was the axis we used in siting the new extension. Now, when you stand at the open front door, you can see all the way through the extension to the back garden, a lovely bit of visual connectivity. That was important to us and our clients.
The hall way extension steps down through a glazed link, down past laundry and bathroom and study area, opening out into a light filled kitchen and sitting room, which can be separated with sliding screens. These screens have an extra personal touch. An image taken by Jo of the pier at Point Lonsdale, a special place for the family, is printed onto them, an ever present remainder of good times.
Instead of clinging to the old building, the new areas of the house break away and let it breathe again. The cladding choice of flat galvanised sheet metal is a call-back to Lincoln’s trade as a plumber, as well as a deliberate reversal of the warm materials used inside. These were for Jo, lover of colour and life! Yellow concrete on the floor, orange kitchen and red ironbark walls, all seek to add warmth and a contrasting tone to ever present greenery of the garden that surrounds you.
The Solomit on the ceiling adds texture to a plane so often without it, for the benefit of the client’s son, who at 215cm tall, spends most of his time closer to ceilings than is usual. Its acoustic properties are also felt, offering a foil to the timber and concrete floor.
A protective veranda provides a buffer zone to this garden, warding off the north and western rays and heat, in hard, tough material, Galvanised steel and concrete to contrast inside. The only continuation, the Solomit on the soffit, an allegory for pea straw much if ever there was one.
The overall gesture is one of peace, stability, light and comfort, and, dare I say it, old and new. But most importantly, it is about living with and around your garden, being on ground level and feeling like your feet are planted in the feeling of home.
Photos by Michael Thorpe