Architecture & Interior Design

St Kilda West Residence

St Kilda West, VIC, Australia

James Lyall Smith

Project Type
  • Residential
  • St Kilda West, VIC, Australia
Lead Architect
  • Toby Ewert
  • 274m2
Project Year
  • 2016
Project Team
  • Toby Ewert
  • Simone MacGinley
  • St Kilda West, VIC, Australia

The St Kilda West Residence by Ewert Leaf is a modern extension to a heritage home in St Kilda West in which light space and dynamic forms are the driving factors behind the beautiful modern property.

Ewert Leaf worked with a client that was keen to explore the way shape and form can funnel light and airflow through a residential space. Through this relationship the project became a playful solution to the rigors of this elongated site, with unique access.

One of the main design challenges was connecting the old and the new elements of the building. Ewert Leaf wanted each element to have its own individual identity, which work together to balance each other.

They didn’t want to design a conservative addition which carried on the aesthetics of the existing dwelling and failed to create any drama or impact. In this house, the old and the new are allowed to shine independently and their distinct differences provide a sense of complimentary contrast when read as a whole.

A key driver from the client was to ensure that cross ventilation was obtained in the space in order to reduce the need for mechanical requirements. This has been attained through deliberate window placement, allowing natural light and airflow to move through the space with ease.

Low VOC paint has been applied throughout, minimizing the pollution of the indoor air quality and the old panel tilt garage door has been reclaimed and restored.

Angular floor plates pull light down into the space via a series of large openable windows. The open plan living is bathed in light from an overhead, suspended walkway that connects the master bed and the ply-clad guest room; creating a theatrical atmosphere.

Hovering over the eye catching natural stone kitchen bench, the perforated metal balustrade of the feature stair wraps over the walkway and helps articulate the dark matte finish of the joinery. The materiality of the balustrade allows light to seep through, enabling a visual connection between the ground and first floor.

The expansive kitchen is captured in a rich, moody palette of charcoal cabinetry, reconstituted stone and timber veneer shelving. This creates a strong backdrop to the generous central island bench that is highlighted in a combination of honed Savannah Grey marble and reflective bronze tone metal cladding.

The existing tilt panel garage door in the living room harks back the original house, while the extensive wall art collection provides a punch of colour. The exterior is clad in zinc shingles which wrap around the angled surfaces and contrast with the red brick of the existing dwelling.

An extension to an already sizeable house, the key was to create large spaces without making cavernous voids that lacked the coziness of a family home. Bringing some black perforated metal and dark palette into the joinery helps emphasize the light carefully inserted into the spaces rather than bring the tone down.

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