Double vision: Inarc Architects design twin houses in Melbourne’s Fitzroy

The exterior of a residential home over 2 flows built with grey shades of on create. Low level grey concrete fence with walls and a small front garden with trees
Melbourne's Inarc Architects have just completed two houses in the city's Fitzroy district
(Image credit: TBC)

Heritage-listed areas are generally approached with trepidation, given the strict local council guidelines when a ‘new kid’ on the block arrives. However, Inarc Architects designed not one, but two contemporary townhouses in a heritage-listed streetscape in Fitzroy, Melbourne. Framed by Victorian terrace homes, the two sawn bluestone townhouses sit quietly in this inner-city street.

‘We wanted to respect the past, but also create contemporary two townhouses for two couples, who are also friends,’ says architect Reno Rizzo, co director of Inarc Architects, who worked closely with the firm’s co-director interior designer, Christopher Hansson.

As with the neighbouring Victorian terraces, many of which are elevated above the street on bluestone plinths, these townhouses are perched above their contemporary steel picket fences, with lush front gardens. Although the pair appears identical from the street, each one is considerably different inside, both in the configuration of rooms and interior finishes.

Interactive show plan showing the ground floor of a residential home

(Image credit: TBC)

Take an interactive tour of The Eyrie

The larger of the two, called the Eyrie and approximately 430 sq m, is spread across four levels, including a basement, with a detached car-stacking system located at the rear of the property to accommodate four cars. ‘Although our clients are empty nesters and scaling down from their large home in the suburbs, their brief was still for an extensive program of required spaces,’ says Hansson. 

At basement level there’s a games room and a wine cellar, together with a separate laundry and storage areas. And on the first floor, perched above the street, is a separate study that allows the owners to watch locals strolling by. A generous open plan kitchen, dining and lounge area, linked to the rear courtyard – style garden, designed by Robert Boyle, with generous glazing, allows the blurring of lines between indoors and out. Bedrooms, including the main bedroom suite, are located on the middle level, and on the top level there’s a second living area/self-contained suite for guests. 

On either side of this floor are terraces, one offering views of Melbourne’s skyline, the other of the Dandenong Ranges in the distance. And piercing the four levels is a striking white powder-coated steel staircase, with a skylight above to bring natural light into the core. ‘It’s quite a narrow site, so bringing light into the centre of the house was a key strategy,’ adds Rizzo.

The exterior of a grey 2 floors residential home with full lenght windows featuring grey open blinds. Grey concrete tile floor with potted green plants

The two buildings sit on a heritage-listed street, within a typical row of houses

(Image credit: TBC)

A residential home built with shades of grey concrete with a full tall front door which is open. Grey concrete stair cases leading to the open front door of a grey concrete residential home. The front door is a tall wood design with a beige door carpet

One of the two homes is larger than the other, and is called the Eyrie

(Image credit: TBC)

The interior of a residential home featuring a white cabinet section with the tv pucture frame and a table lamp. Grey L shaped sofa and dining table and chairs.

It spans approximately 430 sq m and is spread across four levels

(Image credit: TBC)

The interior of a residential home featuring white walls and floor to ceiling cabinet (with black table lamp). Wood/laminate ceiling design . Grey L shaped sofa with cushions

The top floor contains a living space that also acts as a self-contained suite for guests

(Image credit: TBC)

An interior of the kitchen in a residential home featuring, white walls and cabinets, white lighting hanging from the wooden design ceiling. White long dining table with grey chairs

The house contains a generous open plan living, dining and kitchen area

(Image credit: TBC)

Interior of a residential home, featuring a white powder-coated steal staircase with wooden flooring and white walls

Piercing the four levels is a striking white powder-coated steel staircase

(Image credit: TBC)

The main lounge in a residential home featuring 2 grey sofas (with cushions) and a 2 round chairs. wooden ceilings with hanging lighthing. A long oak cabinet behind the sofa with 2 table lamps. Linked to the rear of the house is a courtyard and garden

The house’s main lounge is linked to the rear courtyard and garden, designed by Robert Doyle

(Image credit: TBC)

The lounge in a residential home featuring grey L shaped sofa with cushions and grey carperts. Floor to ceiling cabinet with a Black TV and Black table lamp. Floor to ceiling sliding doors that lead to a courtyard

Generous glazing allows the blurring of lines between indoors and out throughout the house

(Image credit: TBC)

A study in a residential home featuring a wooden desk with wheeled black leather chair, wooden floors and ceilings. Floor to ceiling windows with blinds and beige curtains. Grey two-seater sofa with a black side table

On the first floor, perched above the street, is a separate study that allows the owners to watch locals strolling by

(Image credit: TBC)

Bathroom featuring white walls and ceramic sink surface. White bath and shower

Bedrooms and bathrooms, including the main bedroom suite, are located on the middle level

(Image credit: TBC)

Wooden staircase featuring metal banisters, and white walls with skylight ceiling

A skylight above the main staircase brings natural light into the building’s core

(Image credit: TBC)


For more information visit Inarc Architects's website

Stephen Crafti started writing on Architecture & Design in the early 1990s after purchasing a modernist 1950s house designed by Neil Montgomery. Fast forward several decades, Crafti is still as passionate and excited about seeing and writing on contemporary architecture and design, having published 50 books to date as well as writing for leading newspapers and magazines.