Apr 10, 2012

Inside/ Outside :: an elegant Victorian villa with a modern touch

One of the many delights of mid Victorian villas
are the bay windows,
often arched,
which create a sense of inside/outside theatre:
a literal prism window onto the garden.
the bay window plays with the garden views:
a little inspired by those early camera obscura, perhaps?
But looking at the same scene,
from different angles,
makes it rather fun.
It can also become 
a cosy nook
for a couple of chairs,
as it has here, 
in this elegantly renovated home on the market
in the bayside suburb of Elsternwick.
But it's out the back, 
where the deck lays invitingly and
sunlight floods in,
that we find a modern interpretation of this inside/outside interaction.
And I suspect the inhabitants would spend most of their time right here.

A rather pleasant spot for lunch.
Alfresco dining is always in season,
when there is sunlight to be captured, celebrated & loved.

And as we spin back around to see the front of the house,
the garden beckons yet again,
this time framed symmetrically by the moulded archway.

In more ways than one, 
the Victorian villa extols the beauty of this inside/outside connection.

Would you like to live here?

property :: 21 hopetoun st elsternwick, melbourne
images & agents :: biggin scott
flower images :: kate hill 

thank you so much to everybody for your lovely get well wishes!
no site visits for me this week - but lots of lovely posts to come - including 
the highlights of the melbourne international flower & garden festival last weekend.


  1. I love looking at floor plans so loved this thank you! I think it's a very clever use of the space. Melbourne seems to excel in getting the best out of these villas. All those fireplaces retain so much of the home's character. Hope you're relaxing! Annie x.

    1. Ooh me too, Annie! I can spend hours examining floor plans. And working on them! They are my very favourite part of being an interior designer. The bones of a building, if you will. Yes, I am relaxing thank you - feeling guilty about all my deadlines but trying to juggle them and rest at the same time. x

  2. I am presently working on a renovation of a terrace house in London....I really am torn when it comes to doing the new great glass wall to the garden...is this solution going to scream of the decade 2010 - 20? Especially in London where enjoyment of the sunny weather isn't exactly an everyday thing! At the moment I am leaning to the steel framed factory window, first developed in the UK so there is some historical linkage but the clients of course love the glass box feel....thoughts? Thanks. H

    1. Hi Heather. It's the proverbial question, isn't it? To celebrate the contrast between old + new, or to blend it. I think there is no right or wrong, both can work as long as they are done with careful thought to proportions, context and materials. Personally, I love the notion that architecture is a living series of snapshots of history, both from the original year of construction, but also as a marker for the alterations that have occurred along the way. Who is to say that the original is always the best? Certainly not I. And to go to the other extreme, and wipe out all trace of a building's history in the rush to make it "contemporary" is equally sad.

      I love the idea of the steel framed factory window used as the material, but reinterpreted into a glass box shape. I assume this is a part of London where the old factories were? So it has a direct reference?

      When we lived in London, I suddenly understood the obsession with conservatories, as one of the terrace houses in which we lived had one. And in winter, there was nothing more wonderful than seeing (if not actually feeling) the warmth of the sun's rays in late morning shafts. It suddenly dawned on me just how practical these glass walled structures are in a cold climate - and how beautifully dramatic they can be - as long as the right type of smart glass is used, of course.

      I hear what you are saying though, about it screaming 2010-2020. But I honestly don't think that applies if the proportions & details are intrinsic to the building.

  3. Looks like a beautiful property - love the bay window and all the greenspace the windows look out upon! Melbourne certainly has some amazing architecture! Tracey xx


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