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Midcentury Modernized: A Sensitively and Sustainably Remodeled 1960s Gem

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Midcentury Modernized: A Sensitively and Sustainably Remodeled 1960s Gem

November 26, 2021

Depending on how you look at it, an old, untouched, architecturally interesting house is either a treasure or a teardown. Fortunately for this 1960s-era modernist home in a suburb of the Adelaide foothills in Australia, its new owners (a couple with two kids) admired its provenance and recognized its potential. Soon after they made the purchase, they hired Northern Edge Studio to update the neglected home and shuttle it into the 21st century without losing its character.

“The house was damp, had some failing plumbing and electricity, and had lots of little things wrong with it,” says architect Paul Cooksey. “Many people would’ve simply bulldozed the house. It’s a credit to the client that they were willing to invest in the future of this home.”

Below, he walks us through how his firm renovated the midcentury gem with sensitivity and sustainability in mind.

Photography by Jonathan VDK, styling by Maz Mis, courtesy of Northern Edge Studio.

the compact home (measuring just about \1,600 square feet) will eventually be e 9
Above: The compact home (measuring just about 1,600 square feet) will eventually be expanded to accommodate the clients’ growing family, “but immediately, they just needed a house that was weather-tight warm and comfortable,” says Paul. To that end, they replaced the roof and added Earthwool insulation in the roof and walls.
the original plan was to make do with the existing kitchen cabinets, but they w 10
Above: The original plan was to make do with the existing kitchen cabinets, but they were too damaged and moldy to salvage. Instead, a late decision was made to replace them with a flatpack option. Above the window is a heat pump mini-split unit. “We wanted to segment the heating cooling system in a way that didn’t require ducting. Using heat pumps is the most efficient, cost effective, and simple way of doing this.”
chairs from aura objects surround a modest corner banquette. the light was desi 11
Above: Chairs from Aura Objects surround a modest corner banquette. The light was designed by architect Jørn Utson, who designed the Sydney Opera House.
in lieu of strawboard, sustainably sourced tasmanian oak now covers the ceiling 12
Above: In lieu of strawboard, sustainably sourced Tasmanian oak now covers the ceiling. “We needed something to replace the strawboard that had character and texture. The client wasn’t sure at first, but we are really happy with how it turned out.”
paul bought the vintage media unit as a gift for the client at the completion o 13
Above: Paul bought the vintage media unit as a gift for the client at the completion of the job.
“It was sourced from a secondhand store called Retro Room that specializes in mid-century furniture.”
the living room steps down to a sun soaked den. the windows in the home are all 14
Above: The living room steps down to a sun-soaked den. The windows in the home are all original to the home. “No windows were fully replaced,” says Paul. Instead, they were repaired, reglazed, and resealed for better efficiency.
the view from the den to the patio. 15
Above: The view from the den to the patio.
the walls are painted dulux&#8\2\17;s natural white. the slim pendant light 16
Above: The walls are painted Dulux’s Natural White. The slim pendant light is by Unios.
new cork flooring, one of the most sustainable flooring options, covers much of 17
Above: New cork flooring, one of the most sustainable flooring options, covers much of the home, including the music room, which has green acoustic EchoPanel walls by Woven Image. In the middle of the wall is a window to the kitchen. “That is a little servery through to the kitchen. It’s original and the kids love it, so we had to keep it.”
the simple main bedroom. 18
Above: The simple main bedroom.

For more eco-conscious homes, see:

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