Faithfully restored

A varied past and an out-of-character 1980s remodel belies the history of this gracious home
A view of this kitchen that features a cabinetry, ceiling, countertop, cuisine classique, flooring, home, interior design, kitchen, real estate, room, window, gray
A view of this kitchen that features a light blue/grey tone, stainless steel kitchen appliaces, timber cabinetry, tiled flooring, reseeseec and pendant lighting

Gentrification has played a vital role in the re-establishment of inner-city neighbourhoods the world over. Rundown areas that experienced an exodus have undergone a renaissance as couples and young families seek a more urbanised lifestyle to that of their parents.

For the owners of this property, the opportunity to restore the home in keeping with its heritage was a large part of the attraction, says architect Michael Menn, principal of Design Construction Concepts (DCC).

"As far as we can ascertain, the home was built around 1894. Over the years the house had a number of different uses, including as a boarding house. The new owners were looking to restore the home as a single-family residence, keeping the style and aesthetics as close to turn-of-the-century as possible, without sacrificing the practicalities of modern-day living."

The best example of where authenticity meets practicality is the kitchen the hub of day-to-day family living.

"Previously, the kitchen which is believed to have been added onto the home in its current position around 1915 consisted of a series of chopped-up spaces with a large, cumbersome work triangle," says Menn.

floorplan of the house angle, area, design, diagram, drawing, floor plan, font, line, plan, product, product design, structure, technical drawing, white
floorplan of the house

A previous owner remodeled the kitchen in the 1980s, but failed to update the wiring and plumbing. Menn and his team also had to level the kitchen floor.

Another aspect to the kitchen is its role as transitional space to and from outdoors, and to and from the second level which needed to be maintained.

Because the kitchen is a multi-purpose space, the solution was to make it function better in each of its roles. Gone is the clutter; replaced with an open-plan layout that actually resulted in a 25% gain in cabinet space. The inclusion of a breakfast bar has given the family an all-important casual dining area, making the kitchen more communal, says Menn.

Marshall Morgan Erb Design was contracted to co-ordinate the home's interior design with the architectural restoration.

"The whole purpose was to reinterpret the Victorian mansion aesthetic for a modern lifestyle essentially, to create something that felt like it had been there for a long time and yet offered the functionality of a modern kitchen," says Marshall Erb.

floorplan of the house angle, area, design, diagram, drawing, floor plan, font, line, plan, product, product design, structure, technical drawing, white
floorplan of the house

The choice of materials played a large role in realising the design brief, says Erb.

"The stone floor tiles and unlacquered tap and refrigerator were chosen because they exude an instant patina. Likewise, the hand-glazed tiles in the hearth, used with a wide grout, convey a sense of wear and tear due to their irregularity."

The major focus was to preserve the historic look, especially from the outside. Erb says central to that ethos was to provide the homeowners with a kitchen that was meant to be bashed about, to convey a sense of its having been lived in.

Colour too, plays an important role, with Erb choosing pigeon grey for the walls and shaded white for the cabinetry.

"The pigeon grey has a variable tone depending upon light conditions. Off-set by the white cabinets, it is both contemporary and traditional at the same time."

Aug 24, 2007

Credit list

Interior design
Marshall Erb, ASID, IIDA,
Kitchen manufacturer
Custom Cabinets
Benchtop and flooring
Kitchen sink
Main contractor
Andy Poticha, DCC
Cabinet hardware
Schaub & Company
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