26 Jan Traditional Meets Modern – Tour A Victorian Terrace in Melbourne
While being drawn to 2018 interior decor trends and with monochrome interior being one of them, this layered tone-on-tone space in Melbourne immediately caught our eyes when we stumbled upon it on Savvy Home. This Victorian home was gorgeously renovated to add a rear extension, which was designed by their owners, Annick Houle and Stephen O’Connor, architects at O’Connor and Houle Architecture. Since the heritage laws can be quite strict to renovate Victorian houses in Australia, how to harmoniously integrate classical architectural designs with contemporary styles becomes an intricate task. In this case, Annick and Stephen did a magnificent job in transforming the tension between traditional and modern into an a complementing contrast. “We just love this house. It is very private and serene, with glimpses of greenery from just about every window. It feels like a true family home,” Annick says. Their choice of furnishings are cozy, modern, laid-back, but with a bit of eclecticism and rusticity too, making the house feel extra inviting. Scroll on to start the tour! (Cover Photo Source: Derek Swalwell via Australian House and Garden)
Upon arrival at the house, the bright blue front door sparks our imagination for what beautiful interior must be behind that door, and the first peek surely doesn’t disappoint! The rear extension fills the home with light, which benefits even the Victorian front — the elegant façade, exterior ironwork, plaster mouldings, decorated banisters etc. are some of the home’s period appropriate details that are nicely maintained by the owners.
Following the natural light through the hallway will bring us into the kitchen. The black cabinets paired with Carrara marble gives a minimalist statement, which makes the cooking area look clean and fresh. The open shelving allows their copper cookware and wood boards to become decorative features in contrast with the otherwise black-and-white space.
Next to the kitchen is the an open space combining the living room with the dining room (living dining room), where the renovated extension nurtures the lively terrace. The layout is centred around the 4.5m antique baker’s bench, where the family eats and entertains. The swinging glass doors not only make the most of natural light, but also they bring the outdoors closer to the interior. “The dialogue between architecture and nature has always been a key interest of our practice,” Annick says.
The suspended fireplace is another focal point in the rear extension. Together with the contemporary steel window frames, these modern additions are flawlessly integrated into this Victorian terrace home. While certain elements are indeed modern, large pieces of rustic wood are used to offset the modernism, successfully bridging the old with the new.
Back to the front of the house, we can see another Victorian staple in the sitting room and home office — marble fireplaces. Annick and Stephen selected timeless and comfortable furniture pieces to go with them, connecting traditional with modern to ensure the decor feels consistent throughout the house. The built-in cabinets modernize the space without stealing attention from the home’s Victorian features. The dividing wall between the home office and the sitting area was removed to create one large, bright, and open space. This is also where Nutella (their brown lab) and Couscous (their cat) hang out during the day.
On the second floor, there is a serene roof garden connected to the master bedroom, giving the couple a place to relax in the sun and a view to wake up to. The main bathroom is magnificently covered in Carrara marble tiles — from wall to floor to the sink. The contemporary design creates an interesting contrast with the Victorian ironwork framing the window on the exterior, which is coherent with the reimagined eclectic style throughout the house.
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