Deventon Residence

Designed by A. Mortimer McMillan, the 1930s Arts and Crafts style home ‘Devenescire’ has been rehabilitated with a comprehensive remodeling that has been carefully considered. The original heritage-listed home has been transformed by a masterful contemporary design approach that addresses the modern needs of a young family living while celebrating the private garden setting and abundance of natural light. The approach to the project was to celebrate the original heritage building by establishing a simple contemporary architectural dialogue between old and new. The design aims to simply be ‘perceived’ as a modern insertion into the heritage building, as opposed to establishing an appendage.  The line between old and new is blurred and seamless.

Whilst the overt modernity is carefully restrained, a substantial addition was created by demolishing a majority of the existing building at the rear and reconstructing the back of the home, extruding the shape and materiality of the existing brick building and steeply sloped roofline. To unlock the heritage restrictions, a new basement level of substantial scale was excavated below the existing home, accessed by a bricked ramp concealed below an automated lid. The new basement level accommodates additional programs, seeking to maximise amenities while maintaining the expansive gardens surrounding the house. Seamlessly integrated into the site works, the basement contains a six-car garage, boat store, home theatre, wellness retreat with gym and sauna, and wine cellar, connected to the home above with lift access. Natural light is brought into the theatre and wellness areas through large north-facing windows cut directly into the new swimming pool, which is suspended above the driveway ramp.

A sophisticated dialog is created between old and new, where contemporary, refined architectural details are inspired by the existing heritage features of the home.  The internal spaces are distinctly modern, framed by the character of the original building. The carefully considered design approach accommodates a distinctly modern vernacular housed within the structure of the original arts and crafts building. The new home opens itself up to the substantial garden setting and natural light and facilitates clever and contemporary indoor/outdoor living spaces. A fine white structure unfolds from the walls and forms an angled canopy to frame the exterior pool terrace and gardens, taking cues from the sharp angles of the home’s existing roofline.

The interior detailing is devised to further celebrate the exchange between old and new. The strategy is most evident in the kitchen in the way the surfaces angle to form the bench and rangehood, similar to the original angles of the building. Another nod to the original detailing is the diamond-like pattern from the original leadlight windows, which have been etched into the wall paneling of the Powder Room, Lift, and Master Robe walls and doors. The interior is characterized by robust, enduring materials, embracing the texture and character of the home and its connection to light. In the master ensuite, bush-hammered limestone effortlessly responds to the abundance of natural light afforded by the 4-metre lightwell above the shower that simply frames the sky above.

The clients’ existing art collection acts as an inspiration for the curation of interior spaces, and furnishings have been selected to enhance the tonal and conceptual qualifies of the works. In the billiards room, Bill Hensen’s photography inspired the deep tones of the interior, layering the hand-loomed silk rugs and carefully selected furniture. In other areas of the home, more vibrant, colorful tones connect to works by Jonny Niesche and Del Kathryn Barton. The design for Deventon is shaped by the inspiring opportunities of working within a heritage building to create a contemporary home that elevates the needs of a young family, to create a home that is contemporary, enduring, and carefully considered.