Enhancing and maintaining the existing design features of this Mediterranean-inspired house was key to its metamorphosis.
It is gratifying that in a world where old houses in expensive suburbs go under the wrecking ball, there are still clients, architects and interior designers who see the value in breathing new life into existing properties.
Working with Robert Weir, of architecture practice Weir Phillips, interior designer Briony Fitzgerald was acutely aware of the pedigree of this house. “It was designed by Joseland and Gillings, protégées of Professor Leslie Wilkinson, and the go-to architects for luxury houses in the eastern suburbs in the late 1930s,” she says.
With its distinctive Mediterranean-style features and significant lineage, Briony and Robert responded to the embedded design language by stretching, massaging and manipulating the existing house while creating a live able home for a family of five. To do this, the kitchen was shifted from its scullery-like location at the rear of the house, rooms were expanded and new sections added – including a dining courtyard and master bedroom wing – either within the envelope of the house or by sensitively expanding the original footprint. “An important aspect of this kind of project is the quality of the builder, and we found the most collaborative, skilled and charming colleague in Giuseppe Alvaro of Alvaro Bros,” she says.
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