A spanish mission art-deco hybrid home renovation in Balywn taking inspiration from the colours and arches of the original house.
This Spanish Mission-style house, built in the 1930s, came with ‘great bones’ – solid double brick walls and generous accommodation. On the downside, one had to follow a maze-like passage to reach the back garden and many of the rooms, including a front vestibule, were literally a through way. The 1990s addition was also problematic, with the chunky sliding aluminium doors to contrast the fine steel arched windows from the 1930s. Hence, while a new kitchen and bathrooms were required, the initial phase focused on getting the planning right for a couple with a child, who was returning to Melbourne from living overseas.
While the owners felt the house was too small and required enlarging, Hindley & Co could see it was the layout and the lack of interconnection between rooms and spaces that were the main stumbling blocks. The dining room and family room were simply disjointed from the dining and kitchen area, and the removal of a few walls created a much more appropriate response to contemporary living. Other areas, such as the vestibule at the front of the house, was transformed into a study, with new wall-to-wall built-in shelves. The flimsy 1990s sliding glass doors were replaced with arched steel and glass doors, now framing the dining area that overlooks the pool and terrace for alfresco dining. The new striped awnings give protection from the northern sunlight.
While the kitchen, with its Corian bench and butler’s pantry, is clearly new, many of the original features in this home have come to life with a sumptuous palette of colours – mauve ceilings including repainting the heavy brown timber rafters (in the living areas), deep emerald green (for the study) and soft pale greys to replace the stark white walls (popular in the 1930s). Other vibrant colour appears in the selection of tiles, including the ensuite to the main bedroom which now features punchy graphic floor tiles that loosely reference the home’s origins.
The Balwyn house, with its four bedrooms, still retains all the hallmarks of the Spanish Mission style - decorative fireplace surrounds, leadlight windows and original arches that are now experiencing a revival almost a century later. However, with a few strategic moves, removing a few walls, providing new amenities and a more adventurous colour palette, it shows what can be achieved by building on its past and taking it several steps forward.
- Stephen Crafti
This project is located on the lands of the Wurundjeri Peoples and we wish to acknowledge them as Traditional Custodians.