ISSUE 82  |  Australia by Design

The Best of Both: Open Plan and Intimate in Melbourne

July 25, 2013 9:00 AM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

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Has open plan living reached the peak of its popularity? Australian architecture firm Kennedy Nolan leads the way in creating a hybrid of domestically intimate spaces with the visual advantages of open plan living. 

We’re all familiar with the advantages of open plan living, where “a one for all and all for one” approach to family activities from cooking to television watching is meant to strengthen familial bonds. But the reality of having the dishwasher running at the same time as the television can be noisy and a source of irritation for some. In their extension of a 1938 clinker brick home in Hampton, Australia, Kennedy Nolan avoided the pitfalls of a one room open plan extension by adding a central corridor to the back of the house with a study/guest bedroom on one end and a living room at the other. Light, airy, and open, the visual connections between the spaces remain but at the same time they feel distinctly separate.

Photography by Derek Swalwell via ArchitectureAU

Above: The rear extension includes a decked courtyard that leads out to the garden. 

Above: Looking down the central corridor toward the living room. 

Above: A large striking graphic dresses up the closet doors in a hallway.

Above: Exposed beams, painted white brick, and saw-cut travertine tiles make up a neutral palette.

Above: Full height sliding glass doors open the space completely out to the exterior. To see the ultimate sliding doors, favored by Pritzker Prize winners, see Sliding Doors Inspired by a Midcentury Masterpiece

Above: The original Victorian and new modern addition come together in the kitchen. 

Above: The modern kitchen appears to float within a Victorian shell. 

Above: Full height sliding glass doors allow for continuous views throughout the house. 

Above: Full height sliding door partitions open or close space off as required. 

Above: A full height pivot door clarifies the reading of the brick piers. See Architect Visit: Pivot Door Roundup to see why they get architects excited.

Above: The architects were inspired by the designs of Southern California architects such as Richard Neutra and Craig Ellwood

Above: The beams appear to float above the glass as they continue from interior to exterior. 

Painted white brick has a minimalist textural appeal. See Painted White Brick in our Gallery of rooms and spaces to see more.