This home by Melbourne based ZGA architects comprised alterations to a significant Heritage house, built in 1886 in the wealth of Melbourne’s gold rush. Located in East Melbourne the brief was essentially to reinvest a dignity and liveliness to this heritage house, in the context of the 21st century, informed by its current owners’ passion for design, preservation of history, and the art-world. The Heritage house ‘Queen Bess Row’ has witnessed varied past uses. With great care, the new works introduce a layering of other stories, embracing the honesty of a modern approach to interventions, while avoiding nostalgia or imitation. The house spans 4 levels with two staircases and a glass elevator. The intrusion of a glass lift within the house allowed a shifting of the hierarchy of rooms: the rear ‘shoe-boxes’ are replaced with vibrant wall paneling and secret rooms, the master bedroom floats up to the attic, the grand front rooms are reinterpreted living and entertaining spaces. Window-seats, lighting and fixtures sit comfortably alongside artwork and marble fireplaces in the bathrooms. Colour-coded, face-mounted sliding doors define private zones. Expert craftsmanship was required in every intervention which for me is the stand out in this home. This investment of thought, craftsmanship and detail means the revitalised house, like a family history, lives very much in the present while reflecting the many influences it’s seen throughout its’ lifetime.
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