Louisa House by Templeton Architecture and Lou Prentice Interiors

  • Templeton Architecture collaborate with Lou Prentice Interiors to reform her two-storey family home in Melbourne and fully appreciate its delicate heritage beauty.

    With its grand archways, original windows and expansive ceiling height, it’s hard to ignore the beautiful heritage details of the Louisa House. Owner Lou Prentice Interiors had already begun the process of restoration but together with Templeton Architecture, developed a scheme that enhanced the historical elements of the home and its contemporary, family-friendly appeal. Working in collaboration with a client who was ‘quite entrenched in the project’, Templeton Architecture have created intimate and tranquil spaces despite the scale of the home – and ultimately a rewarding experience for all.

    Principal of Templeton Architecture Emma Templeton said from the beginning, the home had really habitable but not functional spaces. Emma describes the home as  “..incredibly beautiful volumes and lovely heritage features, yet the actual operations of the house were failing the family,” as if all the dense spaces had been forgotten. Contrary to the usual process of starting in the kitchen first, Lou Prentice had previously worked on some of the other spaces such as the living areas. So, Templeton Architecture was called on to address the heart of the home and work their way out.

    The original brief focused on the hardworking areas – the bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen and laundry space. The newfound functionality shines through in all of these spaces – like in the now spacious kitchen, which enjoys seamless cabinetry from both sides and steel bench tops. Templeton Architecture were also called upon to improve the connection with the rear extension and  expand the second floor attic space to house a ensuite for the client’s daughters, making way for more generous bedrooms and storage. 

    As we’ve previously seen on est, Templeton are experts when it comes to appreciating volume. In the case of this heritage home, Emma admits “the volumes of old houses offer you something you can’t often achieve in contemporary dwellings”. The Templeton team were extra cautious not to alter the internal flow of the dwelling that would impact the original front rooms. They wanted to capture the attraction of these front rooms which are often left dormant by ‘translating and filtering the elements throughout the house’.

    Emma explains this was apart of a considered process taking some heritage formulas and running them through the house, blurring what they’d done and what they hadn’t touched. In this instance, they introduced panelling to the staircase that only existed on a door at the base. They then took this idea and applied it to the bedhead and powder room details. In this way, Emma feels they “let the house lead many of the decisions”.

    The prominent grey theme that runs throughout was first introduced by Lou Prentice, so the Templeton team decided to run with it. “The house was very strong in its black and white presentation to the street. The grey is a soft interpretation of that palette,” Emma recalls. Lighting highlights in the grey scheme include the Cloud 37 Chandelier by Apparatus and Drop Pendants by Paris Au Mois Daout, that doesn’t seem out of place with the old lighting fixtures. In the arched hallway, a Mangas Globo Rug by Patricia Urquiola makes a gentle appearance, while the encaustic tiles are sure to grab your attention in the kitchen and dining space.

    Above all, what really struck Emma and her team about the Louisa House was the sense of tranquillity that pervades the home. “It’s got a real sense of calm….yet it’s quite a busy family home. I think that’s intrinsic to the bones of the house.” Bringing calm to a well-trafficked abode is no walk in the park, but with a highly successful client-designer relationship, the result couldn’t be stronger.

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