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An Inspired Melbourne Addition with Shelves as Walls

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An Inspired Melbourne Addition with Shelves as Walls

February 22, 2016

Known for his masterful use of simple materials, Melbourne architect Rob Kennon says his work is about “craft and invention” built in with “elements of surprise and delight.” For a compact addition to an Art Deco house, he created a rigorously planned puzzlework of plywood bookshelf partitioning offset by concrete brickwork and flooring. The results are a domestic sanctuary: a series of discrete but integrated rooms, and there’s no lack of shelf space—or delight.

Photography by Brooke Holm via Rob Kennon Architects.

Architect Rob Kennon Northcote House Brooke Holm photo Remodelista 1.jpg 136

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Above: Sliding glass doors in the back of the 135-square-meter (1,453-square-foot) addition open the living room to the garden.

Grasshopper floor lamp 138

An Inspired Melbourne Addition with Shelves as Walls portrait 7

Above: Kennon applied a materials palette of raw birch ply and polished concrete mixed with black elements throughout. The light is Greta Grossman’s Grasshopper Lamp, a midcentury classic.

Architect Rob Kennon Northcote House Brooke Holm photo Remodelista 3.jpg 141

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Above: Open and closed shelving link the living room and kitchen/dining area. Says Kennon, “We aimed to created a sense of enclosure within the individual living environments while still maintaining visual and functional connections.”

Architect Rob Kennon Northcote House Brooke Holm photo Remodelista 4.jpg 143

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Above: The remarkable millwork continues on the beamed ceiling. The dining area’s cement brickwork echoes the exterior walls and introduces a new raw texture to the space.

Architect Rob Kennon Northcote House Brooke Holm photo Remodelista 5.jpg 145

An Inspired Melbourne Addition with Shelves as Walls portrait 7

Above: Flush black cabinets are paired with a black Vola faucet (see more colors here) and butcher block counters that look like extensions of the shelving.

Architect Rob Kennon Northcote House Brooke Holm photo Remodelista 6.jpg 148

An Inspired Melbourne Addition with Shelves as Walls portrait 7

Above: A central square window suffuses the galley kitchen and dining area with with light, and takes the place of a painting.

Architect Rob Kennon Northcote House Brooke Holm photo Remodelista 6A.jpg 150

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Above: The fridge and pantry are concealed behind closed doors in the entry to the addition. And there’s also a glassed-in laundry area with sink. The stove wall has a backsplash of black subway tiles (scroll above for a view of it from the living room).

Alvar aalto 60 stool 152

An Inspired Melbourne Addition with Shelves as Walls portrait 7

Above: A minimalist’s dream in a corner of the living room. The Alvar Aalto Stool, designed in 1933, is a Remodelista all-time favorite.

Architect Rob Kennon Northcote House Brooke Holm photo Remodelista 8.jpg 155

An Inspired Melbourne Addition with Shelves as Walls portrait 7

Above: Go to 10 Favorites: The Niche Workspace for more built-in desks.

Architect Rob Kennon Northcote House Brooke Holm photo Remodelista 9.jpg 158

An Inspired Melbourne Addition with Shelves as Walls portrait 7

Above: Vertically stacked subway tile and Vola fixtures in the all-white bath.

Architect Rob Kennon Northcote House Brooke Holm photo Remodelista 10.jpg 161

An Inspired Melbourne Addition with Shelves as Walls portrait 7

Above: Exterior shelving and a window onto the laundry area in the latticed entry. See more of Kennon’s work at RKA.

For two more Melbourne remodels to admire, go to:

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Frequently asked questions

Who is the architect behind the Plywood and Concrete Addition in Northcote, Melbourne?

The architect behind the Plywood and Concrete Addition in Northcote, Melbourne is Rob Kennon.

What is the design concept behind the Plywood and Concrete Addition in Northcote, Melbourne?

The design concept behind the Plywood and Concrete Addition in Northcote, Melbourne is to create a harmonious combination of plywood and concrete in a modern design that respects the existing period house.

What materials are used in the Plywood and Concrete Addition in Northcote, Melbourne?

The Plywood and Concrete Addition in Northcote, Melbourne is primarily made of plywood and concrete, with some additional materials such as steel and glass.

What was the biggest challenge faced during the construction of the Plywood and Concrete Addition in Northcote, Melbourne?

The biggest challenge faced during the construction of the Plywood and Concrete Addition in Northcote, Melbourne was the limited space available for the new addition, which required careful planning and execution to create a functional and beautiful space.

How does the Plywood and Concrete Addition in Northcote, Melbourne complement the existing period house?

The Plywood and Concrete Addition in Northcote, Melbourne complements the existing period house by respecting the heritage features and integrating modern design elements in a way that enhances the overall character of the house.

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