Fusing the old with the new, Hove Street house is a celebration of 1880s architecture with a modern, industrial edge.
Local architect Melina Hobday designed the residence in Highgate Hill with her husband Ant McCormack as their ideal family home. “We lived in the house for a number of years before we decided what we would renovate so that we really appreciate what we loved about the house, what we could improve and what space we wanted to spend the most time in,” Ant said.
Fusing the original structure with the new extension was not a difficult undertaking for Melina. “My approach when working with any heritage building is to create a contrast between the old and the new. Keeping a clear definition between the two — rather than trying to match or recreate the old,” she said. From the street, the home presents as an original 1880s character home with a less conventional external colour palette. “We wanted to have a dark exterior to reflect the urban context, but inside a white, light and bright retreat,” Ant explains. The facade heroes matte grey and timber, with an injection of lush green plants adding natural colour.
Hidden behind the workers cottage is an impressive contemporary two-storey home with every convenience and comfort required for modern living. For the contemporary additions Melina’s approach was to champion understated architecture, allowing the family’s life together to influence the spaces over time. “As we collect art, furniture and objects these things will add the colour and texture of our home with the house providing the perfect canvas,” Ant said. The main living area provides an excellent example of the fusion between old and new. The original fireplace has been preserved and restored while the kitchen features on-trend subway tiles and timber accents. Polished concrete flooring reinforces the industrial edge and complements the home’s relaxed aesthetic. A collection of period plates and mixing bowls have been used to style the space, hinting at the home’s heritage and providing a subtle connection to the cottage upstairs.
The minimalist style and colour palette is continued in the bathrooms. Timber and white with a splash of green plant life are on show, with subway tiles again featured. Providing a fun twist, the tiles in one of the bathrooms are laid in a herringbone pattern. Looking up from below the stairs, VJ walls of the original building are visible. Timber beams in the ceiling and original windows have also been maintained. For Melina and Ant, it is more than just the fixtures, fittings and architectural style that has been honoured. “There’s a certain calm or good vibe or feeling that is almost omnipresent in the original 1880s part of the house — everyone who visits comments on it. The bedrooms are in this part of the house which creates a really great place to rest and relax,” Ant said. “We’re relocating to Melbourne for work. If we could put the house on wheels and take it with us we would!”
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