This ‘project’ is in fact three separate projects from the ‘vault’. These projects from some years ago demonstrate the development of Di Mase Architect’s current design approach centred on creative re-use, sustainability and functionality.
The conversion of a classic brick warehouse in Collingwood gave us the opportunity to revive a hollow yet beautifully crafted shell of a building into a contemporary, gallery-style home.
Like so many older buildings of Melbourne, the warehouse’s foundations were sturdy and needed very little restoration work. Internally, our clients had asked us to reconfigure the ‘bare-boned’ space to include a master bedroom, bathroom, ample storage and an open plan living area.
As the raw materials used during the warehouse’s original construction had come back into vogue, we were able to re-use or adapt aspects of the original building while maintaining a modern feel. We introduced warm timbers and in-built furniture to create a sense of intimacy, contrasting a predominantly white and timber colour scheme with splashes of colour to add warmth and comfort.
The kitchen/living area is dominated by an A-frame ceiling with striking exposed beams and a strong sense of space. Our clients’ own artworks, hanging along one wall, become a focal point. The kitchen meshes modern features and equipment with the heritage values of the building, achieved through experimentation with timber and metal finishes. We used timber paneling to tie the front of the home to the back, providing consistency with the heritage features of the home.
“An inner-city warehouse in Melbourne, Australia, has been transformed within into a modest but impressive residence where light, space, and function are the core of its striking design.” – Catherine Oelrichs
Having recently renovated their home, our clients were now looking for a way to create a separate home studio/office at the rear of their property, without losing their off-street parking space. Our design solution saw an open garage occupying the ground floor of a small, two-storey building, the second level of which became the desired home office.
Daylight floods the resulting studio, which is contemporary in style with an airy, open feel. The overall effect is of a room that feels larger than its relatively small footprint.
Our approach to the design was fairly minimalist to allow maximum space for the tools of our clients’ trade: a desk, bookshelves and arm chairs fit for reading. Unique light fittings and timber finishes add visual interest to the space. Large windows at either end provide natural light and connection to the greenery of the back yard.
Structurally, the studio mirrors the scale of the existing home, complementing its recent redesign, the two buildings framing a beautifully landscaped, lush courtyard.
“The simple form of the interior and exterior design reflects the archetypal visual image of home, proving that beautiful spaces don’t need to shout from the rooftops.“
This North Fitzroy terrace house suffered from the common limitations of similar homes in that it was long, narrow and dark, despite having a detached wall on one side (abutting a laneway). Our challenge was to open the property up to natural light while staying within the bounds of planning controls, which in this case included a central boundary trap that could not be built over.
The most significant change we made was the introduction of two small courtyards bounded by full-length windows on three sides. Flourishing with native plants and materials, the courtyards provide ample daylight and fresh air to what was a dimly lit, poorly ventilated home. The effect of the renewal is a liveliness that could not be have been achieved without this contemporary take on Victorian architecture.
With the ‘light beams’ created by the courtyards giving the renovated rear of the home such a different feel, a harmonious transition from the older area at the front to the newer area at the back was needed to achieve a cohesive interior design. The dining room, living room and bedroom we completely renovated with a modern take, while their original proportions were maintained.
This was one of our earlier projects, and it helped set the tone for what has become a trademark of our practice: ensuring that the conscious consideration of a building’s heritage takes precedence in any design approach, maximising re-use of the original structure while introducing air and light to satisfy the modern family’s needs.