A DIY post-war renovation had left this Victorian Workers Cottage with a very high faceted vaulted ceiling affectionately leading to the name Il Duomo many years earlier. Highly ornate tiles contributed to an Italian flavour both client & architect were keen to embellish. Wine, orecchiette, torn bread, muscatels and cheese wheels – the good life. A Medici feast in the thick of Carlton North couldn’t be complete without the Octogon geometry of a fancy courtyard to mirror the Italian cathedral’s ceilings - only turned on its side to create a beautiful terrarium.
The brief called for a light-filled, optimistic, flexible, storage-filled & playful space on a tiny 4m wide block for a power house, travel loving engineer. Every centimetre of this home is accounted for and bursting with amenity.
The pink and green Florentine Il Duomo façade informed the colour scheme for this home, playing out in the punchy Terrazzo paving which extends throughout the space inside and out to maximise the feeling of openness. The grid of the ceiling is also highly referential – the acoustic panel filled waffle texture creates a variety of delicious moments as it collides with the courtyard geometry. The exposed sections of the existing party wall are left raw to remind the client of far off ruins once visited on holidays.
The bright whimsical space is a joy to live in and richly furnished. The pops of maroons in the courtyards and within the home. A yummy green kitchen and bench seat match the delicious velvet couch but the mint green in the bathroom is where the colour combination really sings of Italianality. The coved mint vanity unit gives the festive thematic a real kick, as does the tiny but functional laundry within the same space.
The project is tight and right but also proving a sense of humour and a deep connection the personal narratives of a client is possible within tight parameters. Too often playfulness in architecture is seen as over the top but humans are hard wired to tell stories and seek happiness, our spaces shouldn’t be designed any differently.
WOWOWA’s projects are always extremely environmentally friendly and this 6 star rated home with a tidy neat footprint is no exception. There has been an overall reduction in materials and finishes to reduce wastage,for example insulated double brick as internal finish and exposing timber beams. Maximized cross ventilation from 3 sources within the main area (the backyard, terrarium courtyard and light well behind kitchen for bathroom & bedroom) all with double glazed windows. We’ve used sustainable products such as Ecopanel & BCorp certified lights from Brightgreen.
Material Used :
1. Signorino – Terrazzo
2. Woven Image - Ecopanel
3. Brightgreen - Lights