I remember the first time when I walked into the house, I was telling myself, ‘don’t wreck this’ says Architects EAT Director, Albert Mo. The existing house was an early work of Daryl Jackson & Evan Walker, built in the early 70s. The Studley Park site perches on top of the cliff face overlooking the Yarra River and Yarra Bend Park beyond, the steeply sloping site capitalizes on the river environment and commanding panoramic view, it is especially magical in the early morning with fog over the Yarra.
The client, Andrew Moulton and Darcy Holt, had moved into the house for more than a year before contacting us. From what they had told me, the house was so, so cold in winter & spring that they were practically living in the elements, citing the carpet was often lifting and flapping whenever the doors to the balcony were opened, however such was the hallmark of 70s architecture – bringing nature indoor they said!
Andrew and Darcy knew they were going to renovate this house when they bought it, they had very clear vision of what it would be and how they wanted to live, at the same time they were very respectful of the original architecture. They engaged us to help them “pull the strings together” and we gladly accepted the challenge.
The existing house had a unique, stepped plan responding to the north and west orientation, and the refurbishment retained much of the original circulation. The new works focused on key corners of the façade to further enhance the relationship of the inside to the outside. The balcony is the most visible part of the house - seen from the winding Yarra Boulevard below. The new profile for the balcony mimics the stepped plan of the original house becoming a sensitive homage to the original architects. The zig-zag effect is a series of outdoor rooms, each pocket of the balcony has a distinct corner to inhabit, as opposed to the original singular balcony experience, and established a contemporary relationship with the outdoors.
A lower level is added under the existing floor and the new balcony slab, within the cliff line among the rocks. Unlike the balcony, this new guest suite is designed to be secluded and almost invisible from the boulevard below. We couldn’t help but suggest an outdoor bath here, and the result is a beautiful outdoor room with privacy further filtered by Andrew & Darcy’s planting and landscaping.
Andrew and Darcy took on the daunting project management role during the construction, while living just next door in a rental apartment overlooking the site. They were intimate with every aspect of the build, and engaged directly with different trades so the build is exactly how they wanted it to be. They’ve also enlisted the help of an old friend, an old school carpenter Roger McQueen to painstakingly remove all the timber lining boards, and eventually restore them in the hallway and joinery.
Their dedication and relentless spirit in reestablishing the dialogue of old and new is astonishing, while providing modern comforts, the nuances and the respect to the original architects and architecture is what this project is about.
Architects: Architects EAT
Photographer: Tom Blachford
Facade cladding: Existing BRICK
Flooring: Fibonacci Coolstream
Windows: Miglas @miglaswindows
Window Furnishings: Inside Edge
Interior lighting: EST Lighting
ARTWORKS: Robert Doble. Untitled. Purchased from artist approx 1990.
Maciej Urbanek (UK). Untitled. Gift from artist
Gary Wilson, Untitled, Purchased from Anna Schwartz approx 2000
Fred Ganham. Untitled. Commissioned from artist
Wendy Stavrianos. Inkon Linen 1976
American Walnut Veneer:Ventech
Stone: Red Omakase Travertine & Cocktail bar Travertine: Signorino
Tapware: Faucet Strommen. Pegasus M in Matte White
Toilets: AXA Rimless WH from Reece
Cloud shower head & Shower mixer: Roger Seller
Sink mixer: CEA Design. Purchased Verona
Pedestal Sink: Claybrook Orbit Floor Mount Basin in Dover White.
Bathtub: Claybrook Ellipse Bath Mist Natural Finish.
Outdoor taps: Faucet Strommen. Antique Brass.
Toilet: Sfera Rimless WH. Roger Seller