Built with Brickworks: Ivanhoe House by Kavellaris Urban Design.
According to Domain, Ivanhoe in Melbourne is the ‘leafy suburb that offers the best of both worlds’. That is, it’s close to the city, but far enough away (about 10km) to feel as open and airy as the countryside should. It’s one of Melbourne’s oldest suburbs, having been established in 1839 by folks wanting to create rambling country estates a stone’s throw from the action. This sense of duality, and having the very best of both worlds—contrasted but complementing one another—informed a little of the thinking behind Ivanhoe House, a striking new suburban family home nestled within the streets of the Melbourne suburb.
It’s the work of Billy Kavellaris of the Melbourne-based studio Kavellaris Urban Design. Created for a close childhood friend of the architect, Steve, his wife Penny, and their children—the home seamlessly unites inside with outside, large open-plan family areas with smaller, more intimate private spaces, and a 50s era Palm Springs-style aesthetic with other, more contemporary influences. Centred around a sun-drenched courtyard, the home has all the trimmings of a sophisticated, modern Australian dream—a pool, a pizza oven, and an open plan kitchen. The details and the clever dance between opposites, however, make it something more.
Set back from the street on a slightly sloped block, the single storey home’s grand double-height entryway creates a dramatic sense of arrival. Clad almost entirely in gridded milky white La Paloma bricks from Australbricksand surrounded by a moat of sand, Ivanhoe House is arresting, but somehow not totally severe. A cream paled fence, brick letterbox, and driveway still feel domestic and inviting.
Inside, domesticity versus artistry continues. La Paloma bricks run outside in, creating intrigue and continuity throughout the home, and into the courtyard. The modernist undertone of the house speaks to its Ivanhoe neighbours—Robin Boyd’s iconic mid-century brick masterpiece, Featherston House, among them. Billy Kavellaris’ idea was to ‘narrate’ a new version of the classic modernist look, and has married dark spotted gum, stone, and large panels of glass with clean, modern tones, curved white walls, and wide steel framed doors and windows.
In the courtyard, the raised glass swimming pool is another smooth integration between one world and another. One end is finished in transparent glass, so the pool overlooks the living room and open fireplace—connecting lounging with swimming.
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