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Old house, new tricks: contemporary heritage at York Street

In Melbourne’s cosmopolitan St Kilda West, an Art Deco duplex is given a streamlined new fit out by Neumode Design & Construction and Metroworks Architects.

For a modern family looking to house a veritable Brady Bunch of six children, the amalgamation of two separate apartments within an old double-storey duplex proved to be the ideal living solution.

The property is owned by a relative of Melissa Fleming, principal architect and director of Metroworks, who created the architectural response and worked alongside Neumode Design & Construction to realise the exemplary residential project.

The 1930s walk-up style home retains its original frontage, featuring an external stair access to the living quarters above, while a new internal staircase was installed to link the first and ground floors and unify the home from within. A bespoke steel balustrade makes a design statement of this stairwell, cleverly echoing the distinctive curvature of the Art Deco building. Key details authentic to the period home include sensitively restored original floorboards, and interior doors replicated in timber and glass, which emulate the unique style of the old.

With Neumode aiding with cost planning and construction, the kitchen was initially inclusive of the overall project package. However, following a visit to the Rogerseller showroom, the client was particularly taken by an impressively streamlined Italian design solution.

With Valcucine’s New Logica kitchen system, the working heart of the York Street home exudes a high-design sensibility, with tinted glass fascia and an island bench top of brushed granite and recycled oak. Though it is a truly impactful space, New Logica’s ingenious slide technology enables the functional clutter to be concealed in an instant.

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The client valued the New Logica system for the amount of space saved, in lieu of installing a separate butler’s pantry. And with any cooking mess stowed in an instant, the house is a step ahead during pre-party preparations. “You can shut it all down and you would barely know there’s a kitchen there!” says Michael Hill, director at Neumode.

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“I must admit, it was a bit of a worry to think such an important piece of the project would be coming all the way from Italy,” reveals Gerard Van Der Linden, project manager at Neumode. “But the kitchen works beautifully in that space, and their team was a pleasure to deal with.”

The kitchen leads into the dining and lounge area, and contributes to the luxe aesthetic of the whole house. An adjoining wine storage cabinet, inbuilt with a humidifier for the perfectly climate controlled drop of vino, completes the entertainer’s dream.

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York Street went on to win two categories at the 2016 HIA Victorian Housing Awards – one for Best Renovation/Addition Project of the Year, as well as Best Renovation/Addition over $1.5 million.

With a cutting edge, almost futuristic kitchen at the core of such an award-winning design, it is easy to forget that this space accommodates a family of eight. But as Gerard says, “What I think is important with this project is that it’s not just a showpiece that you can’t live comfortably in. At the end of the day, it is a family home.”

Construction by Neumode Design & Construction

Architecture by Melissa Fleming – Metroworks Architects

Photography by Paul West

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