Who lives here: Jeremy and Olga Elia, with their family Anastasia, 16 (not pictured), George, 13, and Jacqueline, 10
Location: Heathmont, Victoria
Size: 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
When Elia saw the house from the outside, he fell in love with it straight away. But first, he had to convince his wife that it had potential and was the right house for them. “It stood out from all the houses in the area and back then mid-century modern homes weren’t as popular as they are now,” he says.
At face value, it needed extensive work due to the rotten timber cladding that was covered in thick paint. There was very little if any insulation, it had a leaking roof and very odd extensions that had been added on to the house over the years. But what Elia found most peculiar was the position of the laundry, which was located in the now living area – with the best views in the house!
The roof is almost flat, but it appears to float above the walls when viewed from the street. This, along with the use of cantilever, lightens the weight of the home from the street view. Other key architectural features include the adjustable vertical louvres on the street facade, and the metal chain that is connected to the protruding gutter. The chain visually anchors the house back to the ground, but also functions as an overflow for the gutters; this is a quintessential architectural feature of mid-century design.
The house is designed to lightly touch the ground and appear like it is floating. This will become more evident as the vegetation grows around most of the house. They have mass planted acacia limelights, which when fully grown will look like green clouds with the house floating above them.
“The entry passageway features an internal wall that doesn’t touch the ceiling and creates a functional element that separates two spaces – the kitchen and entry,” says Elia. The featured wallpaper emulates a monochromatic mid-century design motif. The Stelton Time Wall Clock provides a contemporary look with the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A9 speaker, which doubles as a design feature in the home.
A simple gallery-style track light extends the entire length of the house, providing the main light sources to most of the areas throughout the entry level. Softer floor and table lamps and feature lights are used to create more intimate lighting in other areas.
He looks for beautifully styled, high-quality products. “I prefer spending more money on the authentic items because the subtlety in some of the detailing and quality of workmanship is a lot better. I still have a few replica pieces (such as the Eames lounge chair above), but over time will look at replacing these with genuine items.”
Coupe 3321 floor lamp: Oluce
Artwork: Sam Shmith
After over 11 years of planning and completing the renovation, the family has utilised 21st century elements to create their dream home from this 20th century classic.
PH Snowball pendants: Louis Poulsen
Sciangai coat stand: Zanotta
The family love the open-plan layout of the main living areas and the fact they can be seen from all angles, as well as the large expanses of windows with great views out to the garden, deck or horizon.
Executive arm chair: Knoll
The beverage pantry and breakfast nook are hidden by a set of pocket doors that retract back into the joinery, allowing for increased space when opened. Closed, they make the interior elevation look clean and uncluttered.
Hanging pendants above the island bench look very informal and loose to counterbalance the formal layout of the kitchen joinery.
AIM pendants: Flos
The sink is located opposite the island bench and has a mirror backsplash, which allows anyone at the sink to look behind them at the view, or look at someone sitting at the stool on the island bench.
Masters stools: Kartel
All the appliances in the kitchen are Gaggenau and the stovetop and extractor are positioned on the island bench. The extractor elevates out of the bench and tucks back neatly in when not in use. Again, these were items that were expensive, but viewed as long-term investments.
The floor is a Royal Oak product made of engineered oak veneer in a ‘Black and Smoked’ finish.
External metal cladding in ‘Monument’, external timber cladding in ‘Flooded Gum’: Dulux
“Soon after our renovations were completed, we contacted Ron’s wife and sons and invited them over for morning tea to visit the house and see the new renovations,” says Elia. “They were very appreciative of being invited and reminisced at length about the wonderful times they had living and growing up in the house. They were also very complimentary of the renovations and were glad we maintained most of the elements of the original house.”
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