Melbourne based studiofour is a collective of architects and designers, led by directors Annabelle Berryman and Sarah Henry. They were asked to convert an existing home in Melbourne into a more modern, sleek design.
Their focus was to return this house to its essence of form and to create a home full of atmosphere and individuality. The brief was to create an authentic home with a strong sense of identity and with clients being of Danish heritage, a house that at its core was the definition of “Hygge” (a unique Danish word evoking comfort and contentment).
In the client’s eyes, the value of this renovation lies not just in its function and the shelter it provides, but because studiofour have been able to repurpose an existing home and conserve the heart and soul of the forgotten.
On arrival, the entry is now defined by an oversized eave that emphasizes the horizontality of the façade and strengthens the cohesiveness of the existing architectural form.
It has been punctured to allow substantial soft landscaping adjacent the entrance, as well as provide increased light into the interior of the heart of the home without compromising on privacy.
The horizontality of the architectural form was further strengthened by filling in vertical joints in brickwork and raking existing horizontal joint lines.
The language of the exterior brickwork is carried inside, to form and define volumes. These walls are unadorned and honest. The interiors celebrate the beauty of imperfection. There are no embellishments, no overworked decoration.
A key challenge was to balance the clients’ desire to live in an open plan house that ensured a high level of interaction and communication but without the noise and distraction that a single large space can sometimes result in. In contrast to the modest and simple façade, on entering, spaces unfold and are layered upon each other.
Solid brick exterior walls carry inside to frame the heart of the home (Kitchen + Meals) and create interior portal openings which connect adjacent spaces (Dining, Living + Bar).
The layering of these spaces was further strengthened by adding plate glass walls that intersected the solid walls. Whilst spaces were isolated acoustically, a controlled visual connection was promoted.
Further connections are made between the adjacent garden and the space around the house, providing a layering of landscape and surrounding built form.
The home is light filled with fresh air and aspect, yet there is an inner truth and stillness to the spaces that produces calm and a certain mindfulness.