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A Contemporary 1950s House Renovation For Homebodies

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The brief of this 1950s home renovation provided to Mihaly Slocombe Architects paints a vivid picture of idyllic suburban living complete with a comfortable house and a big backyard. 

‘They weren’t at all interested in a showpiece home, rather, it was important to them that their home supported them in their everyday lives,’ says Warwick Mihaly, principal of Mihaly Slocombe of the family clients—a couple with two young children. 

The priority was to support the lifestyle of the owners, who describe themselves as homebodies, and love inviting people over to the home.

‘For us, we were quite inspired by this picture of the everyday. A family’s home is its castle after all!’ says Warwick.

Warwick Mihaly’s response was to create an open living addition and renovate the Malvern East, Melbourne house in keeping with its 1950 origins and art deco-style features. 

Most of the existing house was retained, except for some services and an unremarkable rumpus addition from the early 2000s. The architects replaced these with a new open-plan extension, with a ‘periscope’ mezzanine above. 

Accessible by a crafted staircase tucked behind the lounge, this upper room features a solid wall to the west to shield direct sun, and a north-facing glass wall – emulating the rotation of a periscope to draw soft light into the extension.

‘The periscope does what it’s supposed to: catching northern light and drawing it into the open-plan living,’ says Warwick.

Aesthetically, the addition is a contemporary interpretation of the original home. Its form politely emerges at the rear of the house, among a garden of friendly established trees, with the original white render and red brick tones informing the white Colorbond exterior and selective pops of red throughout. 

The fourth bedroom and the mezzanine are both flexible use spaces, allowing the home to evolve as the family’s needs change. 

The garden by Kate Seddon Landscape Design is similarly tailored to growing children in a beautiful and subtle way, such that it won’t look out of place once the children become teenagers and then adults. 

Precise building work by Sargant Construction has further elevated this project, intertwining a range of materials, beautiful finishes, and millimetre-perfect execution. 



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