Carefully preserving the originality of the 1970s mid-century house while meeting the demands of contemporary living, Raheen House is a collection of contrasts. Designed by C. Kairouz Architects, the site in Kew, Melbourne, is integral to the architecture. The owners’ unwavering dedication to maintaining the house’s character — originally designed by Chancellor & Patrick Architects — set the tone for the remodel.
The owner of Raheen House, Sam, is the co-founder of FLATIRON Label (an ECA-accredited Australian fashion brand), whose dedication to quality and locality has established a strong commitment to designing and manufacturing every piece in Melbourne. Sam’s insight into crafting creations with a distinctive sense of identity, and the importance she places on originality, are apparent not only in her clothing line but in the resourceful renovation of the Raheen House.
The project was meticulously transformed into a new era by C. Kairouz Architects, who honoured the site’s narrative and idiosyncrasies — namely, the German-blown glass chandeliers and wall-hung ashtrays — while overlaying contemporary features to adapt to contemporary living standards.
An objective of the design brief was to maximise and increase functional space while ensuring a comfortable and tailored environment for a family. The expansion and reconfiguration of the floor plan opened the living areas, establishing an inviting environment suitable for family gatherings and entertaining guests. Sam’s aspirations to create a space that caters to daily needs and fosters a welcoming ambience for hosting involved modifying the kitchen into a modern, functional and aesthetic space.
A compelling opportunity arose from the challenge of modernising Raheen House while maintaining its original character. A constraint of the site was the existing low-lit, dense living spaces that required reconfiguring to achieve a sense of openness and communal living while maximising natural light. The inclusion of crazy paving stonework and rendered walls brightened the interior and allowed natural light to bounce through the home while framing captivating tree-lined views.
The integration of contemporary elements with distinctive existing materials — textured brickwork and cedar-clad vaulted ceilings — posed a challenge. The selection of new materials was needed to balance the contrasting aesthetics and harmonise with these existing textures and materials. The inclusion of natural rattan, rolled-edged Corian stonework, and rich warm walnut finishes, along with mixed metal accents, accentuates the new and complements the existing.
Raheen House emerges as a refined embodiment of heritage and modern living, seamlessly blending the past and present in a narrative of architectural ingenuity and timeless style.
Traditional custodians – Wurundjeri People
Architecture and interiors – C. Kairouz Architects
Photography – Emily Bartlett
Grazia&Co, Tigmi Trading Tangali, Inaluxe Art and Design Studio, Eames, Knoll Spoleto, Squint Prints, Brian Martin, Arflex Strips, Featherston, Nicholas and Allistair, Jardan, Armadillo, Great Dane, Living Edge
Elton Group, Eveneer Crown Cut Walnut, Camberwell Cane, Custom Rattan, Bishops Master Finishes, Harcourt, Teranova, Crazy Pave Quartz Flamed
Zip, Brushed Nickel, Astra Walker, Eco Brass, Wolf, Liebherr, Fisher & Paykel