This inner city Melbourne home is designed around its owner's passion for books and art

Red brick three-level townhouse in Melbourne is the brainchild of Australian architect Stephen Jolson
This new three-level townhouse in Melbourne is the brainchild of Australian architect Stephen Jolson
(Image credit: TBC)

This inner-city warehouse-style home in Melbourne, Australia, was originally a mechanic's workshop, literally stripped to its very 'bones'. Rather than demolish what remained, architect Stephen Jolson (opens in new tab) retained a number of those bare external walls, as well as recycling the bricks, when he transformed the site into his latest residential project. 'These bricks provide a sense of the site's history and add to the strength and texture of this place,' he says. The architect used them to create a woven pattern of red-blue coloured clinker bricks to provide a backdrop for this striking contemporary home.

Graphics tour of Melbourne Townhouse

(Image credit: TBC)

Take an interactive tour of Melbourne House

While the facade appears impermeable, the three-level house has been thoughtfully conceived to embrace the surrounding views of the leafy neighbourhood. Designed for a client who has an appreciation for books and art, the house has been customised for these fine collections. An extraordinary two-storey high bookshelf 'pierces' the two lower levels. And at ground level, retractable mesh walls allow for the display of artworks. 'Our client's artwork, objects and furniture were presented to us at the start of our briefing process,' says Jolson, who was mindful of the need for generous storage in all areas. 'The sliding art storage walls (at ground level) allow for pieces to be stored as well as reconsidered for future hanging,' he adds.

To maximise natural light, Jolson located the kitchen, dining and main living area on the first floor. The third and top level, accessed by stairs as well as a lift, are given over to the main bedroom suite, together with a sumptuous study. The piece de resistance takes the form of the expansive terrace leading from the living areas and offering an impressive view of Melbourne's skyline.

Rather than concealing objects and artefacts, as so many architects do to create a minimal aesthetic, here the personality of the client reigns. 'We loved expressing our client's passion for books and art. Our textural backdrop was more than sufficient,' adds Jolson modestly.

White car parked outside colourful graffiti art display

The ground floor features a car parking space but also acts as an area for art display

(Image credit: TBC)

Stairwell next to brick wall

There, a retractable mesh allows for the display of art, while an exposed brick surface leads the visitor up to the main living areas

(Image credit: TBC)

The house's more public spaces - kitchen, dinning and living room - are on the structure's open-plan first floor

The house's more public spaces - kitchen, dinning and living room - are on the structure's open-plan first floor

(Image credit: TBC)

Dining room and kitchen area with a brown and beige setting, with table and chairs against a brick wall

Jolson and his team created a palette of different colours and textures that would compliment the owner's art collection

(Image credit: TBC)

A decked terrace accessible via the living room is the house's centrepiece

A decked terrace accessible via the living room is the house's centrepiece

(Image credit: TBC)

Display of art and books on a bookshelf and coffee table

The display of art and books were both central to the design solution

(Image credit: TBC)

An extraordinary two-storey high bookshelf pierces the two lower levels

An extraordinary two-storey high bookshelf pierces the two lower levels

(Image credit: TBC)

Private room on the third floor of the house

The third floor is reserved for the house's more private rooms

(Image credit: TBC)

Bathroom suite in the master bedroom

It contains the master bedroom and bathroom suite, as well as a study

(Image credit: TBC)