Marrying mid-century and modern style

OLD MEETS NEW: Architects Hindley & Co were sympathetic to the home's original features, while incorporating numerous 21st century upgrades. Photos: Tatjana Plitt. Produced with BowerBird.
OLD MEETS NEW: Architects Hindley & Co were sympathetic to the home's original features, while incorporating numerous 21st century upgrades. Photos: Tatjana Plitt. Produced with BowerBird.

Nostalgia and fondness for the old house were top considerations for the renovation of this property in Geelong, Victoria, which had previously belonged to one of the client's parents.

With a spectacular view over the Barwon River valley and Newtown parklands, the 1960s house needed to increase its engagement with the surrounding landscape, and also incorporate the mod cons required by modern living.

Retaining the mid-century essence of the house was at the crux of the design, with architects Hindley & Co wanting to pay homage to its charm and quirks with any new interventions.

Previously a modest house with some interesting mid-century detailing (such as the windows, fireplace and inbuilt joinery), other spaces within the house were less desirable, such as the very small, dark and utilitarian rooms with small windows. Inspiration from the best aspects of the old house were retained, with the new house more generous, contemporary and comfortable.

The brief was to keep the original bedrooms at the front of the house, as these were generously sized for a property from this time. The owners wanted to add a study, a hobby/guest room and a master suite with walk-in robe and ensuite, as well as enlarging and improving upon the existing family bathroom.

The brief was also to enlarge the open plan kitchen, while retaining a separate area for dining, and to create a separate kid's lounge, laundry and mudroom. The clients also wanted to include some sustainable design features, such as rainwater collection and solar panels.

A butterfly roof was added on the south side of the house, enhancing the mid-century appearance and allowing the ceiling to be raised towards the view. Builders extended upon the board and batten timber cladding originally used on just the front facade above the windows, copying and applying it to the whole front end wall.

The brickwork was stripped of its existing 1980s sand render and refinished with white paint.

When approaching the junction between old and new, the architects chose to express the difference between the mid-century house and contemporary additions in numerous ways. They delineated the old and the new by creating a bespoke bar unit that separates the two eras, taking cues from the original mid-century inbuilt joinery.

The existing large windows in the living areas provided inspiration for the front windows to be replaced with the same type, while at the new end of the house they created taller and bigger windows without cross mullions, which are a contemporary interpretation and modification of the original window type.

The interior also boasts clean architectural shadow lines, timber paneling and painted brickwork.

Inspired by the mid-century style, the taste of the client was aligned with a Scandinavian aesthetic, which results in a light, fresh and airy house that is fitting in its semi-urban setting.