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Newtown House by Hindley & Co. 

August 29, 2017
Newtown House by Hindley & Co.

Melbourne architect Anne Hindley talks to House of Home about how philosophy influences her designs.

On the surface, philosophy and architecture seem unlikely partners. And yet, for Melbourne architect Anne Hindley, it was a background in pure philosophy, coupled with an appreciation of rationale subjects like science and maths, that lead her to design. “I see architecture as a practical application of philosophical principles. I am interested in how space can affect the way people perceive their environment and I set out to create spaces that are uplifting,” she explains.

Anne is founder and principal architect of Hindley & Co, a small practice based in Melbourne. Anne recently spoke to House of Home about how philosophy inspires her work. “I am constantly drawn to work that allows me to frame views and foster a balanced relationship with the surroundings – be it a garden, beach or valley”, she explains.

One such project is a classic mid-century home in Newtown, Victoria with spectacular views over the valley. Originally the childhood home of one of the owners, the brief was to capitalise on the views and the playful 1960s character of the house, whilst bringing it into the twenty-first century.

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Anne goes on to explain: “Where our vision initially differed to that of the client was in the delineation of the old and the new. While we wanted to express the difference between the mid-century house and the contemporary additions, the clients worried about the juxtaposition of these two time periods.” Anne’s clever solution was to take cues from the home’s striking mid century details and then amplify them “to create contemporary interpretations of the original details,” she explains.

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The team introduced striking modernist angular features and asymmetrical profiles such as the butterfly roof on the south side of the house which allowed them to raise the ceiling towards the view. The board and batten timber cladding, which was originally used on the front façade just above the windows, became a feature of the entire end wall at the front, giving the home a very contemporary edge. They stripped off the 80s render to expose the original brickwork and painted it a bright white highlighting its clean modernist lines.

Loaded with charming mid-century detailing such as the windows, fireplace and inbuilt joinery there were also a number of small, dark utilitarian rooms which the clients wanted to reconfigure to be more functional. The result is a functional home with generous, bright rooms that can accommodate the clients’ young family.

Anne rebuilt the original joinery and it became a major source of inspiration for the new detailing. In keeping with mid-century design, large windows open up the home to light and spectacular views. Anne also replaced the front windows with energy-efficient options to match existing large windows in the living areas, while similar style windows were introduced in the extension.

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Inspired by the home’s mid-century heritage, the owners looked to Scandinavian design for their interiors selections. Anne’s team introduced clean architectural shadow lines, timber panelling and white painted brickwork to brighten the home. Nordic references are reinforced with Coco Pendants from Melbourne designer Kate Stokes and Muuto stools in blue-grey.

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Anne likes to play with light and shadow to create drama. She added skylights to both bathrooms that allow sunlight to stream in over the shower, while the steam is drawn up to a hidden fan. Each bathroom has a large feature window that frames the view out to the valley. She introduced layers of texture with clever material choices like Lapege Italian Kuni ‘Timber look’ tiles and Academy Tiles white penny round tiles.

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We would like to thank Anna Hindley of Hindley & Co. for inviting us to step inside this beautiful home. We would also like to thank our guest writer Kate Shaw for her work on this article.


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