Albert Park House is a dramatic and moody renovation of an original 1900s heritage-listed Victorian terrace in Albert Park. The Victorian bones of the house had some elegant features, but recent renovations had rendered the home utilitarian and plain, and we sought to revive some of the soul that had been lost.
Prior to renovating, the home’s rear living and kitchen area looked onto a dreary courtyard and garage cum studio, and the improvement of this outlook was central to the design intent and has proven to be integral to the success of the renovation. We felt that the relationship of the house, studio and garden needed to be harmonised to all three's mutual benefit. This has been done by employing a few elementary techniques to declutter and simplify the previously fragmented layout and by focusing on the views from the interiors to the courtyard gardens.
The outlook from the kitchen and living spaces towards the garage has been greatly ameliorated by new windows and plaster render on the double-storey garage volume, it’s proportions reminiscent of the early modernist house Villa Noailles in Hyeres, France. The protruding steel reveals of the new windows give spatial depth and give the illusion of a thicker wall. They also create long, playful shadows on the rendered wall, which will patina over time. The oppressive opaque glass has been replaced with more transparent glass fitted with mesh screens. From the interior, this creates a patterned play of light and shadow from the surrounding trees, while abstracting the details of the neighbouring properties below.
Views have been framed with picture windows throughout the house, with visual openings focusing on the lush gardens by landscape designer Kate Seddon. By reworking the gardens and face-lifting the pool, external spaces now freely give to the experience from within the house and vice versa.
While the shell of the Victorian terrace was retained, there were some planning changes including the addition of an ensuite and dressing room, as well as the demarcation of the threshold between the private spaces at the front of the house and the more public ones at the rear, by way of steel-framed doors. A palette of black and white, chocolates and neutrals unravels from the kitchen to the living area and master bedrooms. In the bathrooms, the layering of transparent surfaces, such as the shower screens and hanging mirrors produce a trompe-l’oeil effect by reflecting the lush green outside.