Another stunning project from Melbourne’s Splinter Society, ‘Hawthorn Gable House’ is a sensitive renovation and addition to a heritage home created for a young couple and their three children. “The brief was simple – to deliver a functional, light filled, beautiful and contemporary family home that honoured the history of the old interwar home, whilst being financially efficient,” says Splinter Society’s Asha Nicholas.
As with most older homes, the original floor plan was pokey and focussed inwards, there was very little natural light and the home had little connection to the garden. “All the rooms were separate, resulting in a lack of flow and openness that is desired in a modern family home,” says Asha who drew from the original home’s features to create the new family abode. The roof tiles, roof gable, small brick garage, simple decorative timber work and textured renders worked as reference points for the home’s revival.
With budget a concern, the team at Splinter Society decided to retain the traditional multiple smaller room layout in the bedroom area. And while an additional floor was added (largely contained within the existing roof line), using the home’s existing floor plate resulted in an efficient, cost-effective design solution. “With tight local heritage controls, this project retains its heritage estate appearance to the street, whilst transforming to its owners desired contemporary home at the rear,” says Asha.
A highlight of the project, a double height void runs through the middle of the home, creating drama and allowing light to spill in from all directions. “It immediately creates a sense of space and volume which would have been lost if the second level covered this central spine of the home. It cost money to create, but it fundamentally changes the perception of the home,” says Asha.
And to meet the brief for ‘light filled, whilst retaining warmth and texture’, a top lit, double height entry void was carved from the home’s centre, with raked plaster and timber screens filtering light throughout the home. “The original gabled garage was retained and re-purposed as a kitchen, providing an important link to the historical form and layout of the home.”
Aside from the upstairs bedroom, there wasn’t much new footprint added. “Instead, the new spaces were carved from the existing enclosed rooms. This resulted in a beautiful, hybrid open plan, where rooms are well connected, yet have their own definition and character,” says Asha.
Builder: Homes by Artisans | Photography: Sharyn Cairns