Kennedy Nolan’s whimsical renovation of an Edwardian house in Melbourne

Kennedy Nolan’s whimsical renovation of an Edwardian house in Melbourne

Kennedy Nolan architects set out to prove how a renovation and extension of an Edwardian house in inner Melbourne could be extraordinary. The result? An old family house completely reimagined into a whimsical world of curves and curiosity.

Building a new façade at the rear of the house – a sweeping curve of white bricks punctuated with circular windows and arched doorways with black metal frames – was essential to carving out this new world. The wall wraps around a circular swimming pool creating a courtyard, and beyond the pool, a new pavilion clad in charred timber with a balcony expands the living space of the house.

Kennedy Nolan Caroline House

Amidst this eccentric design, the house still functions perfectly as a family home. The interior, left mostly in the existing plan, and pavilion have been given the same treatment as the exterior, with fresh finishes, playful forms and clear-cut curves, all contributing to the same aesthetic as the exterior. A green staircase segues the sweeping hallway, terrazzo tiles across the whole ground floor continue out to the courtyard, and slim oatmeal-coloured tiles in the bathrooms wrap around the curved walls.

The swimming pool is not your average backyard dip. It’s round, compact, deep and dark, designed for swimming in the summer and as a decorative dark and reflective pond for the winter months. While decorative, during the hot summer, this pool will create a cooling effect between house and pavilion – the architects see the pool as a key part of the whole design.

As well as being eclectic, the courtyard also holds conventional uses, including cross ventilation for passive solar design. Meanwhile, the pool complies to building regulation cleverly with a pool gate designed into the façade of the building. §

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