Interpreting a local aesthetic through architecture is difficult, even more so with the changing nature of built structures and design trends. Yet one look through this Carlton North House by local architecture and interior design studio Techne and you can’t help but feel a Melburnian identity about it. From the signature charcoal shades (Melbourne locals wear black like a year-round uniform) to the unity of heritage and modern details, there is something of the contemporary Melbourne landscape captured in this home.
In keeping with the heritage buildings of the inner north, the facade of the Edwardian terrace remains unchanged from its original aesthetic, but once inside the home a modern extension reveals itself. While the unassuming facade may play nice with its surroundings, in conjunction with the strikingly angular extension it acts as balance between the history and future of the home.
As the most overtly modern update to the home, the two-storey extension is visually introduced through the metal cladding and a vertical screen of metal blades – a way to provide privacy in an inner-city environment and a subtle tactic for controlling and directing the abundance of natural light. The full-height windows draw light well into the home, while an additional internal garden space sits between the old and the new spaces to accentuate the connection between the two spaces and connect them to the outdoors.
Inside the home, Techne have retained the original Edwardian rooms, while introducing structural and material updates to refresh the flow of spaces. Where spaces were previously separated, now you might find a geometric steel-framed door and window, and alongside the warm timber tones of the original home a minimalist palette of black, white and grey has been introduced.
Techne also drew on their expertise in environmentally sustainable design, achieving a 6-star energy rating across both the old and new structures. By minimising energy consumption through high-performance passive design, the home not only establishes a connection and respect to its natural surrounds but also takes a future-focussed approach to residential space. In its environmental focus, blending heritage spirit with contemporary style and of course that signature minimalist black exterior, there’s no doubt this is a thoroughly Melbourne home, now and for the future.
“The warmth of the design comes through subtly. It is a high-contrast design overall, but this is tempered with soft and warm stone across the kitchen and bathroom fit-outs, various timber finishes in flooring and stair treads, and loose furnishings.”
– Nick Travers, director of Techne