South Melbourne Terrace conversion

Previoulsy a general store, this South Melbourne terrace has been transformed into the dream home for a Melbourne couple and their two young daughters. Brimming with character and history, the design retains as many of the original quirks, sitting alongside a sleek and modern extension at the back.

The brief was to create a ‘forever’ home that retained as much of the original building fabric as possible, whilst still allowing more light and more connection to the outdoors. The brief also stipulated a balcony bath so that the client could live out the dream of soaking in a steamy hot bath under the canopy of the stars and the majestic gum tree. Eliza Blair Architecture along with Studio Tom interior design set about creating this airy, light filled family home.

Throughout the house, traces of the building’s history are reminders of it’s unique past. A steel staircase leads to the existing basement, and existing brick walls are left exposed to create this eclectic and layered story.

Being a narrow site in a built up area, overlooking onto the neighbouring properties was a key challenge. 


Another key challenge was the pre-requisite of retaining so many of the existing features, yet also trying to enhance natural light and allow the spaces to flow easily.

The first floor screen was designed to not only meet all the stringent overlooking requirements that come with living in a built up site, but also doubles up as a sun shading device for the afternoon westerly sun and a privacy screen for the outdoor bath.


Retaining the very large and solid brick fireplace on both levels, provided opportunities to expose the brickwork and give an anchor to the design that would otherwise not be experienced with an open plan solution.

Photography by Shannon McGrath

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