A Spanish Beauty – St Kilda East by Melanie Beynon and Megan Hounslow
St Kilda, VIC, Australia

Photography Tom Blachford
Architecture Melanie Beynon & Megan Hounslow
Interior Design Melanie Beynon & Megan Hounslow
Words Bronwyn Marshall

With its existing Spanish Mission stylings preserved, St Kilda East sees the insertion of key formal and transitionary elements that connect the inside and out, echoing a Mediterranean sensibility. Designed in collaboration between Melanie Beynon and Megan Hounslow (formerly of Meme), the resulting home creates zoning through a hierarchy of private and gathering spaces.

Located in Melbourne’s inner beachside suburb of the same name, St Kilda East sees the renovation of an existing Spanish Mission style home into a more connected and considered family residence for its owners. Spotted and acquired by the clients for its existing distinctive features, the home mirrors the Spanish openness of a lifestyle centred around the outdoors. Taking cues from the original archways and heavily weighted masonry elements, the new proposed alterations and additions act as an extension, further emphasising an anchored feel. Similar to many homes in similar climatic conditions, the ease of flow between in and out was imperative, and the new works were subsequently founded on these principles. Designed in collaboration between Melanie Beynon and Megan Hounslow, a home of natural and organically textured finishes emerges.

The overall approach is restrained with purpose, combining refined and enduring elements to create a streamlined and minimally calming abode.

Owned by a builder, the collaboration with Melanie Beynon and Megan Hounslow provided an opportunity to meld a home to suit not only their lifestyle but be a project that they helped craft with their own hand. Through insertions of refined steel doors and windows, framed portals connect the built and the natural, offering an engagement with something thoughtfully tactile through use. Archways and openings are emphasised through repetition and textured walls add an organic touch.  At the core of the new works is the aim to create a place of character, embedded with its own sense of self.

Taking inspiration from its Spanish origins, handmade hexagonal patterned floor and wall tiles add an element of the handmade and connects to the maker, while the expressed metalwork reinforces the styling. In its coastal locale, ensuring the home was robust and required little maintenance was key and materiality is selected as a reflection of that aim. Polished plaster walls and solid American oak joinery add a welcomed warmth as well as connecting back to the Spanish style. The overall approach is restrained with purpose, combining refined and enduring elements to create a streamlined and minimally calming abode.

Taking inspiration from its Spanish origins, handmade hexagonal patterned floor and wall tiles add an element of the handmade and connects to the maker, while the expressed metalwork reinforces the styling.

St Kilda East brings the casual and sedative nature of the seaside together with a weighted heftiness to counteract the climatic harshness of its context. In collaboration, Melanie Beynon and Megan Hounslow have carefully crafted a home of resonance, where curious connections between the inside and out offer glimpses inside the one another.

Published 5 January, 2021
Photography  Tom Blachford
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