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Canterbury Road Residence, Middle Park

A traditional Victorian home in Middle Park, Canterbury Road Residence is an opportunity to rethink a series of custom details to suit the context of the original house and the clients’ strong appreciation for the element of decoration from that era. It is an expression of the clients who it was built for through a collaborative design process. Their open-mindedness and positivity as well as their trust and willingness to take a leap of faith where drawings could not tell the whole story were a real asset to the project.

Maintaining the look of the restored façade, the entry is through a formal entry door, fitted with a colourful agate leadlight surround as an alternative to the irreplaceable stained glass windows that would typically adorn a Victorian entrance. B.E Architecture has developed the agate windows as an application of a singular material relying on the natural qualities of the stone to imbue the ornate, artistic qualities appropriate to period homes. The colours and patterns in the layouts are individually selected for the homes and clients they are used and no two are the same, with characteristics more like an art installation.

 

The narrow, steep stair has been replaced with a wider timber stair that is easier to traverse yet fits into the character of the original building. Details including a thin steel handrail that curves to the palm of the hand are referential of the older style whilst being distinctly reduced and modern. Likewise, the formal living room has curved cornice details and the house’s original arched windows. The carved ceiling pattern and a large off-centred arched door add a sense of grandeur common in Victorian homes yet rarely seen in modern construction. The large fireplace is made from black steel with soft curves to feel like it could have come from another time.

With a more straight-lined aesthetic, an informal extension is added at the back of the house. Maintaining a sense of decoration, the open kitchen and casual living space use a rich palette of black limestone floors, stainless steel and a solid, smoked timber bench. The small terrace through the centre of the house uses a tall planted wall that can be seen from every room as a response to the lack of opportunities for landscaping. At the back the house opens up onto a pool and studio retreat: a simplified form referencing the brick structures often seen in the area along the laneways.