True to Form – MLB Residence by Mim Design and AdeB Architecture
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Photography Sharyn Cairns
Words Thida Sachathep

The striking contemporary façade and emphasis on texture and tactility that greets one outside the MLB Residence, designed by AdeB Architects, is carried forward into a rich and detailed interior by Mim Design.

Many two-storey additions to residences in heritage-listed areas like Melbourne’s Albert Park are adorned with black-clad volumes but not MLB Residence, whose striking metallic screen façade stands starkly from the rest. Sitting on a wide laneway, the elliptical-shaped extension of the residence is clad in pleated perforated aluminium screen that is juxtaposed with the rows of nearby Edwardian and Victorian façades.

“As a family home, we really had to make every square centimetre count.”

Challenging the status quo, AdeB Architects’ addition comprises a two-level extension and separate garage studio with a sun-filled courtyard. In designing the interiors, Mim Design was mindful of the young family’s lifestyle and focused on crafting a series of highly functional and contemporary spaces. The result of the collaboration between architect Alfred de Bruyne and Miriam Fanning of Mim Design proves how carefully marrying the past with the present can achieve an exemplary result.

Enhancing the sculptural forms of the curves in the house, shadow lines appear at the edge of the walls.

As the home now stands, it emanates modernity, significantly elevating the house from its previously tired state. Now transformed into a five-bedroom home, MLRB Residence celebrates both the Victorian design and design from the 21st century – externally and internally. “It’s clearly a contemporary home, but there’s not that sharp division between old and new. Here, it’s more a case of working with a Victorian home and making it feel comfortable for a growing family,” says Miriam Fanning.

Challenging the status quo, AdeB Architects’ addition comprises a two-level extension and separate garage studio with a sun-filled courtyard.

When integrating contemporary design into an existing building, she explains, it is crucial to find an equilibrium. For this reason, Mim Design reorganised the original section of the house for new functions and to create sightlines through the home for parents to keep an eye on their children. And, taking cues from the original design, brass door handles have been repurposed and used as inlay details for the concrete floor in the living area.

Hard-wearing materials like Scandinavian oak and polished concrete are used to increase the home’s longevity and durability.
Curves are expressed in the elongated kitchen island bench and lighting pendants.

The front section of the residence contains the parents’ retreat and two children’s bedrooms with a shared bathroom. Tucked off the main hallway is a guest powder room, laundry and a walk-in butler’s pantry. Ensuring that all corners of the house have been utilised and no space is wasted, a storage area is neatly concealed under the staircase. “As a family home, we really had to make every square centimetre count,” says Mim Design associate interior designer Kristiina Reeve.

Gentle curves are the motif emphasised throughout the house. Expressed in cornices, architraves, mirrors and the four-metre kitchen island bench, the curves soften the entire material palette. Meanwhile, the void above the dining area links the living space with the master bedroom on the top floor. The expanse has been utilised as a way of drawing in natural light into the centre of the home. As daylight reflects the curves throughout the house, the arc above the stone fireplace hearth in the open plan living area exudes a sense of calm and relaxation.

“It’s clearly a contemporary home, but there’s not that sharp division between old and new. Here, it’s more a case of working with a Victorian home and making it feel comfortable for a growing family.”

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The void over the dining area brings natural light into the living room and creates a calm ambience.

As a house for a young family, MLB Residence is fitted with a sophisticated level of furnishings that go beyond being merely ‘childproof’. Sumptuous lounges and built-in furniture emanate the contemporary aspect of the house, while materials are restrained as a nod to the heritage past. Natural stone adds a sense of luxury, yet in its subtle grey hues contributes to the overall sense of elegance and calm.

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MLB Residence is defined by its high degree of warmth and tactility – a characteristic that starts from the outside and is masterfully drawn inside by Mim Design.

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Published 9 February, 2020
Photography  Sharyn Cairns
Photographer:  Jaime Diaz-Berrio
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