Robson Rak Challenge Assumptions About Minimalist Design
Elwood, VIC, Australia
The Elwood 2 House by Robson Rak challenges assumptions about minimalist design – far from cold and clinical, this is a minimalist home full of atmosphere and quiet calm, the ideal backdrop for an eclectic collection of art.
The Elwood 2 House is architect Kathryn Robson and interior architect Chris Rak’s own family home. In their work the couple are constantly surrounded by every conceivable variation of design, material, colour, art and object, so for for their home Robson Rak sought a place of retreat and sanctuary. The design also needed to be a comfortable and functional family home for the couple and their two young boys.
The Elwood 2 House by Robson Rak challenges traditional assumptions about minimalist design.
As is often the case when architects design for themselves, the Elwood House allowed Robson Rak to experiment. As they explain, “This project allowed us to explore and test ideas related to the concept of ‘home’. We aimed to create a space that was, at its core, minimal and pared back, yet at the same time having a very real sense of warmth and comfort. Proportion and natural light played a huge part in this success”.
The design also needed to be a comfortable and functional family home for the couple and their two young boys.
An original Edwardian brick house, the architects welcomed the opportunity to “create a contemporary new chapter for the charming double-brick beauty”. The new design focused on retaining many period features to create a cohesive narrative between old and new. A peaceful front sitting room and children’s bedrooms occupy the quietly elegant original front of the house. A distinctive curved hallway door marks the entrance to the contemporary addition, which houses the kitchen and living spaces, with the master bedroom is tucked away upstairs. While the open-plan living space connects to the lush green garden through expanses of glazing, the main bedroom carefully controls light through a screen, creating a private and protected world.
Each space, whether old or new, is united through the restrained neutral colour palette of materials and shades. Combining natural stone, timber floors, white walls and pale joinery, the interior is soft yet with a complex subtlety that speaks to the carefully considered detailing. The motivation behind this subtle, minimalist design is twofold. The first is to create the home as a space of retreat in which the designers and their family could be soothed by the gentle atmosphere enlivened by their art collection. The second is driven by concerns of sustainability, with Robson Rak deliberately focusing on high-quality materials and design that will not readily date, ensuring it stands the test of time for many years to come.
The Elwood 2 House is minimalist design at its best – created with finesse, restraint and character, it resoundingly challenges all assumptions about minimalism. More importantly, it is a much-loved family home, and a peaceful retreat for two architects immersed in a world of design.