Architects Directory 2020: Cera Stribley Architects, Australia
Dom Cerantonio and Chris Stribley joined forces in 2014 to set up Cera Stribley, a boutique architecture studio in Melbourne that specialises in residential and commercial work. They consider Parkside House, a timber and brick holiday home, to be a key breakthrough project for them, while the sensitive renovation of an iconic McGlashan Everist beach house in Sorrento is among their latest completions.
McGlashan & Everist strikes a chord Down Under when mentioned in architectural circles. As well as designing the Heidi home and gallery in Bulleen, Melbourne, for arts patrons John and Sunday Reed, the practice designed a number of modest beach houses on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. This one located at Sorrento, on the edge of a cliff and overlooking Port Phillip Bay, dating from the early 1960s, is an architectural gem.
When Cera Stribley Architects first inspected this McGlashan & Everist home, it was essentially untouched, with the exception of an additional two bedrooms built in the 1980s (but in the same ‘vein’ as the original style). ‘It was fairly intact, but some of the materials had faded, including some of the exterior radiate pine cladding,’ says architect Chris Stribley. ‘One of the main elements to show its age was the canvas clad ceiling in the living areas, lined with seaweed for insulation,’ he recalls, referring to the green stains.
Other areas such as the kitchen and bathrooms (four in total, with one ensuite to every bedroom) also required updating. ‘We were extremely mindful from the outset that this home deserved a light touch, but still providing for the creature comforts expected by the owners, a retired couple.’
Although everything appears intact, these creature comforts, such as hydronic heating and new double-glazed windows, bring this 1960s classic into the 21st century. The new kitchen, including polished concrete benches, replaced the terracotta tiles. ‘We included the same chunky overhead timber beams, but we removed the telephone unit (a sign of those times) that formerly obstructed the view of the water,’ says Stribley. Cleverly concealed lighting and leather pull handles (a hallmark of McGlashan & Everist) were used for the joinery.
Those entering this beach house will admire the timber battened screen and front doors concealing the inner courtyard. Again, it’s a result of reworking original ideas so the past can still be enjoyed for decades to come. §