York Street by Lucy Clemenger Architects articulates the endless possibilities that lie within the shared boundaries of interrelated design disciplines. On one hand, the home is a heritage Federation house that retains touchstones of its construction era. On the other, a contemporary aesthetic has been integrated into the historical narrative, one that reflects the interior and fashion design leanings of its owners.
Initially built in the 1890s, the house is located on a beautiful tree-lined street in St Kilda West. Neighbouring residences are a snapshot of Melbourne’s changeable design evolution, with Edwardian bungalows rubbing shoulders with medium-density high rises of the 1970s. St Kilda West mediates between St Kilda’s eclectic metropolis to one side and Middle Park’s affluent conservatism on the other, all blanketed in a seaside charm tangible in the tall waving palms and salty breeze. York Street adopts and distils similarly disparate dialogues, refining them so that nothing feels out of place.
An AGA was taken from a previous home to reuse in the kitchen and is paired with a large timber island bench designed to resemble an oversized chopping board.
Artwork by Argentinian painter Milo Lockett.
Lucy Clemenger Architects worked closely with homeowners Sophie Gunnersen and her husband Andrew to renovate the existing heritage home and design a contemporary extension with a relaxed city beach-house vibe to accommodate their young family and puppy Bango. As one half of Studio Stamp, Sophie’s interior design and styling aptitude was an integral part of the homes resurrection, indulging personal expression without eschewing practicability and knowledge-driven expectations.
The resulting atmosphere is one of joy and artistic freedom which is tethered by the clean sophistication of the heritage architecture and the linear form of the new extension to the rear. A love of timber, from both client and architect, led to it being utilised throughout the house, defining it as a common thread that binds each aesthetic shift in the home’s identity.
York Street is the manifestation of its owner’s artistic vision. A striking blue pendant in hand-blown Syrian glass hangs suspended in the hallway, surrounded by brilliant white walls and intricate heritage plasterwork. This space, from the moment of arrival, lays the groundwork for the remainder of the house, evoking an intrepid and artisanal spirit. A pragmatic counterbalance to the timelessly austere tones, linear volumes and raw materials of the architecture, the interior design and styling is a vivid allusion to the story each piece holds. Drawing on a curation of global dialogues, the highly resolved backdrop allows for breathing space around vibrant artworks, jewelled lead lighting, ornately patterned and brightly coloured textiles.
To support the client’s love for entertaining all year round, the brief called for an open-plan kitchen, living and dining space that seamlessly connects to an outdoor deck and plunge pool for the kids. Beyond the home’s envelope, another threshold becomes a further driver of design and planning. York Street enjoys enviable direct access to Jacoby Reserve, a small neighbourhood park. Along with the home’s inner-urban bayside aspect, the access to the reserve has fundamentally informed fenestration, interior sightlines and materiality throughout. Terracotta tiles, timber lining boards, pale oak floors and joinery, deep sage green tiles, soft Carrara marble and blackbutt balanced by an ice-white finish which references the seaside locale, reconciling it with the robust fabric of the heritage house.
With a subtle crank in the plan, the new facade facing Jacoby Park follows the curve of the rear laneway and overhangs the green plunge pool below. This timber shroud is designed to prevent overlooking to and from neighbouring properties while allowing for a large picture window framing the adjacent park. The singular form reads like a three-dimensional volume floating above the glazed wall with key viewing points from the laneway and park directing the scale, form and articulation.
York Street finds its resonance in the plaiting together of disciplines and mediums. It celebrates its thresholds as distinguishing successes, almost serendipitous in their alignment with and respect for each other.