Mim Design News: MLB Residence

MLB Residence located in Albert Park, was recently given the opportunity to express contemporary design, both inside and out. Designed by AdeB Architects, the elliptical-shaped extension to the  Victorian house is clad in a pleated perforated aluminium screen. “I wanted the primary façade to be orientated to the north. Having the extension on the diagonal also helps to break away from the traditional approach with a glass pavilion simply added,” says architect Alfred de Bruyne, director of AdeB Architects, who brought Mim Design into the project.

Mim Design not only responded to the architects’ design, but was also mindful of creating a family home for a couple with three young children. As well as creating sight lines through the home to keep an eye on the children, the owner’s brief included soft lines and generous storage areas to put away the toys. “The word ‘softness’ was tempered with the word ‘robust’,” says interior designer Miriam Fanning, Principal of Mim Design, who worked closely with the firm’s senior interior designer Kristiina Reeve.

One of the main challenges in marrying the past with the present is to allow time periods to have their own voice, while still being compatible with each other. Mim Design reworked the original part of the house, making new openings and creating new functions. The front room is now the parent’s retreat and two children’s bedrooms that share a bathroom. There’s a guest powder room tucked off the main passage, as well as a laundry and walk-in pantry. “We really had to make every square centimetre count,” says Reeve, pointing out the storage area tucked under the staircase. A cocktail cabinet concealed by two-pack painted joinery also stretches the ‘envelope’.

What is noticeable is the level of detail undertaken by Mim Design. The parents’ retreat features timber and perforated mesh cupboards framed by classic Victorian-style mouldings. The softness of the curves in AdeB Architect’s extension is beautifully expressed in the new cornices and architraves, almost liquid-like. The void over the dining area, linking the living areas to the main bedroom suite on the top floor, is scalloped with natural light being drawn into the core of the home. Gentle curves are expressed in the stone fireplace hearth in the main open plan living area, as well as at one end of the four-metre-long island bench in the kitchen. Mirrors in bathrooms and ensuites are curved, as is the feature tile wall in the parent’s ensuite bathroom on the first floor.

Although not a large site for the suburbs, this prized inner-city block of approximately 350 square metres ‘punches well above its weight’. As well as a sizeable back yard, there was sufficient room to also provide for a garage with a studio/guest bedroom above. However, although it’s now designed as a family home, the level of furnishings is sophisticated rather than seen as simply ‘child proof’. Built-in day beds and sumptuous lounges allow for a robust environment. And although the materials are restrained, including limed Scandinavian oak on the ceiling and polished concrete floors, there’s a high degree of warmth and tactility. “It’s clearly a contemporary home, but there’s not that sharp division between old and new. Here, it’s more a case of working with a Victorian home and making it feel comfortable for a growing family,” adds Fanning.     Text by Stephen Crafti.  See more here