studiofour revitalise a 1970s home in Melbourne’s north with an emphasis on spatial fluidity and functional living.
The Cunningham Street Residence was originally designed by renowned Australian architect Wayne Gillepsie in 1972. Wayne is well known for his classic and sophisticated designs, many of which are now signature homes throughout Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. The Cunningham Street residence is especially significant, as it was Wayne’s first independent project and his first home. Therefore, the focus of the renovation was on trying to emulate the home’s original fabric while achieving a sense of contemporary authenticity and livability.
studiofour’s design process was less concerned with aesthetic form and more concerned with how the home’s interior could be modified to afford greater ease and comfortability. “Our philosophy was to increase the spatial connections and functions of the home to better suit contemporary living while preserving, and indeed strengthening its heritage,” studiofour co-Director, Annabelle Berryman says. This involved paring back the interior detailing to achieve a sense of clarity and replanning to increase flow between spaces; improving understanding of the home’s language and strengthening Wayne’s original vision.
In an interview with est, studiofour co-Director Sarah Henry said they strive to connect indoor and outdoor spaces to create ‘healthy’ living environments. “We are passionate about increasing the strength of our connection to nature through our architectural response,” she said. “We believe this connection is a pathway to human health and happiness,” she added. As a way of exemplifying this, the interior of the Cunningham Street residence functions in tandem with the natural landscape. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows obscure the line between inside and outside, and natural light embellishes each of the rooms. The use of cool blues and fresh timber echo the world existing on the other side of the washed grey walls.
Floating window seats in the home’s north and east walls optimise natural light and access views of the garden. This room features the HAY Slit Table.
“As in all of our projects, our approach is holistic and all disciplines bleed to inform one another.”
– Sarah Henry
studiofour took cues from the strength of Gillepsie’s architectural intent for the palette. The design team chose grey materials for the floors and walls to underpin the existing humility of the home. Grey then informed the rest of the home’s internal finishes to create consistency and evoke a sense of stability, contrasting with the timber kitchen island bench and the garden’s viridescence.
At the core of this Melbourne home is a focus on simplicity and integrity, as the studiofour team concerned themselves with spatial flow and liveability. This design approach, Sarah says, “ensured the true heritage of the home was retained.”