Fordholm Road, Hawthorn Fordholm Road, Hawthorn Fordholm Road, Hawthorn Fordholm Road, Hawthorn Fordholm Road, Hawthorn Fordholm Road, Hawthorn Fordholm Road, Hawthorn Fordholm Road, Hawthorn

Fordholm Road, Hawthorn

This pretty Hawthorn brick house with its distinctive sloping roof and dormer windows has spent much of the past seven years under renovation, being updated and altered to suit not only the changing needs of the family who live here, but in response to building works that have taken place in every adjacent property.

The house had been a family home for the past 30 years and had been extended and renovated in the early 1980s. The current owners took up residency in December 2003. In 2005, the first of four major works commenced. Using interior architect Anne-Marie Rush, the original front part of the house was given a thorough interior face-lift.

A gentle approach was taken with the interior. The existing dark wood skirting boards, doors and architraves, stair balusters and honey-coloured floor boards are featured, and light American oak veneer cabinetry is used as a contrast. The front sitting room is furnished in soft blues and taupes. With landscape paintings on the walls, a bay window looking over the leafy front garden and the elegant Philippe Starck Romeo Louis II suspended lamp, the feeling is one of calm and serenity. Across the hall, the formal dining room is more glitzy. Bright paintings hang on the walls, the carpet is a vibrant red, shiny silk curtains frame the huge camellia tree in the courtyard and a sculptural 1958 Gino Sarfatti-designed chandelier is suspended over the oak table.

In 2007 a block of land at the rear of the property was purchased and landscaping works were undertaken to incorporate it into the existing property. The old pool was paved over and transformed into a 60,000 litre tank, which now irrigates the entire garden.

In 2008 the builders moved into the roof cavity. With only minimal impact on one bedroom, a stairway was constructed and two rooms built into the roof, allowing views across to the MCG and city. The new stair leading to the third level is deliberately modern, but takes its colour cue from the original dark timber.

Finally, in 2010 and 2011 the back section was removed - the dark kitchen, pine-lined living area and spa room replaced with a modern kitchen, pantry and living room. Designed by Anne-Marie Rush in conjunction with architect Vladimir Chernov, the new pavilion is light and extremely functional. The small garage (which was too narrow to fit the cars), was enlarged to become a pool/rumpus room. The roof of this room has been deliberately elevated to provide privacy from adjacent properties.

The kitchen area is sleek and modern, but the polished concrete floor, stainless steel range hood and tiled wall have been tempered by a mix of organic materials, including American oak cabinetry, wooden dining chairs, bamboo bar stools and the natural cane Vittoria Bonacina Orbita pendants suspended over the dining table.

The exteriors of the rear pavilion and pool room feature a Rhine zinc fascia, designed to complement the "eyebrows" used around the upstairs dormer windows. Architecturally strong, the dark buildings and central paving area will be softened by the wisteria which will grow to cover the steel pergola, eventually forming a verandah providing protection from the summer sun.