Spanish Queen House by Robson Rak

  • Robson Rak celebrate Spanish mission architecture and 1920s splendour in their revival of a family’s home in Brighton, Melbourne.

    Melbourne-based architecture and design firm Robson Rak bring their consistently timeless and sophisticated design intuition to a Spanish mission-style alteration and addition. With the home’s original decadence driving their design approach, the Spanish Queen House exudes boldness and glamour, carrying through every space and detail in between.

    The clients encouraged Robson Rak to foster a luxurious palette from the outset so the refurbishment was able to reflect its original 1920s design, with renewed liveliness. “The client brief was for a personalised, elegant and robust home for a young family of six who love to entertain,” Kathryn Robson says.

    Careful planning ensures the home is welcoming and communal, yet includes adequate private space for family living. Two separate living rooms and a formal sitting and dining room, as well as the bar, can be found downstairs,  allowing family members and guests to co-exist in separate environments, while bedrooms enjoy privacy upstairs. Robson Rak’s rework also made way for a new kitchen and living area at the rear of the home, revealing a steel and glass atrium with bi-folding doors for southern light throughout the day. The refurbishment updates the original 1920’s design with modern features such as double glazed doors and windows, smart wiring and insulation.

    Robson Rak channelled the 1920s Hollywood experience in their restoration of the exterior, with Spanish terracotta roof tiling and rendered white stucco texture. Twisted columns, a signature Mediterranean feature, line the entry, just as grand archways connect the spaces throughout the interior. The dramatic steel arched doorway is an ode to the home’s history, with arched relief detailing in the ceilings.

    The hero of the home’s revival is the steel and travertine bar, inspired by a 1920’s speakeasy, which greets guests at the entryway of the residence. Under the stairwell, the bar creates an intimate space for guests to be entertained before they continue further into the home. The bar creates a ‘movie star’ narrative to be maintained throughout the floor plan, preferably with a martini in hand.

    “We’ve successfully created the ultimate social family home with zones and strategic materiality to allow for the various realities of children and adult fun to co-exist under the one roof.”


    – Robson Rak principal architect Kathryn Robson

    The spacious kitchen features the Twig 5 Pendant by Apparatus.

    A custom Den Holm sculpture and the Dyad Sconce by Apparatus in the light-filled lounge.

    The Arca Chandelier by Philippe Malouin for Matter Made hangs elegantly over the dining table.

    Robson Rak’s rich layering of materials enhances the opulent atmosphere. Grey limestone floors were selected for the rear kitchen and living area, with deep travertine benchtops and tarnished silver light fittings and veneers, tying in the new addition. By contrast, the bathrooms feature Carrara marble; one being a feminine nod to the classic powder room, tiled in blushing pink.

    Apparatus lighting, contemporary forms that feel aged and settled, feature in the kitchen with the Twig 5 Pendant, in the formal living space with the Cloud Chandelier, beside with window seat with the Dyad Sconce and in the bedroom with the Tassel 1 Sconce. Kathryn Robson says a mix of new and old vintage pieces were sourced to achieve a more layered and legitimate aesthetic, rather than specifying all new furniture. In this way, all of the furnishings harbour a sense of purposefulness and belonging in each space.

     “A cocktail of textured and robust materials were used to evoke the splendour of the period but also assist in handling the hard knocks of family life.”

    – Kathryn Robson

    The entryway exhibits artwork from Adam Pyett, as well as a vintage console table from Nicholas and Alistair. The formal sitting and dining room tap into the home’s curvaceous theme, with the Timothy Oulton Propellor coffee table and Pierre Augustin sofa juxtaposing the traditional squared fireplace. With the large Den Holm sculpture as the focal point, the main living area invites comfort and conversation.

    The Spanish Queen house is dotted with romantic objets d’art such as ceramic vases and bowls from Pepite and Modern times. Eye-catching artistry brings colour to the dark material palette, from the likes of Tamara Dean, Melinda Schawel, John Olsen and Jill Kempson.

    By drawing on the semi-Mediterranean architecture, Robson Rak have resurrected a home befitting to its regal title. The design studio’s renovation of this 1920s home maintains all of its classic 1920s glory while providing considerate, modern-day functionality for an entertainer‘s family home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enquire Now