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Sense of Place

Referencing the textures of history and circumstance, a beautifully renovated family home ensures comfort and flexibility for current and future generations.

Originally settled by immigrant fishermen in the mid-19th Century, Fishermen’s Bend (just East of the Yarra River’s mouth in Port Melbourne) has evolved from its gritty beginnings into a comfortable residential suburb, albeit one adjacent to the busy port Melbourne industrial area.

The project for a renovation and extension executed by Adam Dettrick Architects demonstrates a subtle sensitivity to the aesthetic traces left by this evolution, interpreting them and folding them into a modern dwelling.

The existing structure itself was an old housing commission residence that had used pre-cast concrete technology for the walls. The renovation replaces these with modern insulated sandwich panel concrete walls, which update the structure while ensuring continuity to its previous incarnation. A decorative relief on the exterior panels makes abstract reference to the ropes and knots of the area’s nautical past, and is sustained across wooden screens in the garage and office.


On the roof and throughout the interiors sprays of burnt orange allude to the terracotta rooves of surrounding houses, and coupled with sturdy industrial elements like the polished concrete slab floors give the home a vaguely industrial feel.


The design of the home reflects the client’s desire for ‘ageing in place’, with a second master bedroom with ensuite on the ground floor permitting the residents to relocate if stair access becomes problematic later in life. Spaces for alternative bedrooms and living areas are strategically arranged to be flexible and accommodate for changing family situations in the home, reducing the need for future renovations and ensuring the dwelling’s longevity.


This, along with the care given to incorporate elements of the site’s history and context into the renovation, position it to be a beautiful and relevant home for years to come.

Photography: Michael Downes – UA Creative

Adam Dettrick Architects


Floors: polished concrete and recycled messmate boards
Walls:  insulated sandwich panel insitu concrete walls with board finish to interior. Painted plasterboard to other walls and ceilings.
Windows and doors: cedar
Roof: zincalum
Decking and screens: recycled plastic
Appliances: Miele kitchen and laundry appliances . Qasair rangehoods in kitchen and bbq.