Photo Missing photographer: Trevor Mein

Kevin Grove

This home with its ultra modern appearance is not entirely new but rather the result of a dramatic extension and renovation designed by multi-award winning Melbourne architect John Wardle.

The original house was built in the early 1950's and designed by Horace Tribe, also a renowned architect. The design was modern for its time and the layout of much of the ground floor is unchanged by the recent renovation.

John Wardle has a reputation for creating homes which integrate into their natural environment. Here the house has been extended forward from its original site to sit between three massive elm trees. A system of excavation and construction, employing a swimming pool-like shell, was chosen to provide the greatest protection for the roots of the elms.

The position of these trees has strongly influenced the arrangement of the new spaces which have been elevated as interlocking platforms set over the original floor levels to gain greater views across the city and to create a partially subterranean understorey containing garage and cellar.

The house presents an open face of sheen glazing to Kevin Grove. The glazed curtain wall suspended from a large two storey portal spans between two walls of black stained messmate cladding.

In the new living area a void extends across the width of the room approximately marking the extent of the original building. A floor to ceiling window to one side frames the oldest of the three elms, which no doubt dates from when the property was part of Dalswraith (now the Campion Centre). The main bedroom and study on the top level open to the void. Sliding panels can be used to screen off the bedroom and wicker has been used to provide a partial wall to the study.

The low timber shelf across the front window is one of the many innovative features of this house. The shelf serves to give the living area privacy from the street below while maximizing the sensational city views. Also interesting are the fibreglass panels (made by a surfboard manufacturer) at the side of the stairs.

The windows and doors in the family area have been enlarged to give better views of the garden. The shady outside area is landscaped with paving, a rock wall and massed plantings. The building to one side is a studio styled guest room.

These notes have been prepared with the kind assistance of the owners and architect.