Originally a humble stable and outbuilding for a nearby mansion, Stables House marries the elegance of its past with a new, urban setting. Tucked away in a leafy pocket of Melbourne’s south-east suburb of Caulfield, the 1920s heritage home pays homage to its rich equestrian history. Melbourne-based architecture and interiors firm, Robson Rak, reimagines the contemporary family home through a cohesive, functional and inspiring design.
Building on its original fabric and historical features, the brief for Stables House was centred on creating a refined, comfortable and warm home to accommodate the busy lifestyles of a family of five. Robson Rak emphasises the importance of design longevity and client value through challenging the conventional architectural processes to find new and innovative ways to live and experience design. A creative studio that’s focused on human-centric spaces, Robson Rak tells the story of contemporary residential living through timeless and elegant architecture with Stables House.
Designed as a testament to the work of Robson Rak, Stables House sought to reinvent the old with the new in a luxurious and balanced way. Without over-restoring the original features of the building, the structure required significant interior alterations to open it up and maximise the versatility and usability of the large living space. On the eastern side of the house is an enlarged opening to encourage connectivity and boundless movement. This is elevated with the flow of natural light throughout the whole house, with insertions of skylights and expansive steel-framed windows and louvered doors on the southern edge of the house. Working to blur the boundary between outside and in, this modern reinterpretation of heritage architecture enhances the living experience as generous garden views and sumptuous rays of light work to breathe new life into the structure and traditions of the existing space.
Servicing clients who love to entertain, the architects created a seamless connection between every space without compromising on privacy and functionality in the design process. “We feel passionate about creating interiors that will endure and have long-lasting value. We believe that by creating architecture and interiors that have a timeless feel, we can create projects that stand the test of time,” expresses Kathryn Robson and Chris Rak of Robson Rak. Following a cohesive design language derived from the architects’ renowned aesthetic, the refined material palette and textural narrative of the home provides an overall sense of restrained opulence. Boasting natural materials and custom-made joinery elements that respect and replicate the original style of the space, textural harmony was meticulously established between old and new.
When creating a dramatic and pared-back aesthetic, balancing the structure’s size with intimacy throughout the living and kitchen spaces was essential. Taking on a reductionalist philosophy, Robson Rak worked with textures and tonalities that honour the past and future generations of the home. With no details spared, the Zip HydroTap in a Brushed Chrome finish proved to be the perfect addition for the contemporary home. Taking pride of place on the robust porcelain bench top, it is the centre of attention for entertainment and relaxing. Zip offers the family and their guests the luxury of instant filtered boiling, chilled or sparkling water in a single tap.
Robson Rak ensures the project is given it’s own personality by revitalising the original, unique character of the past. From an honest and subtle stables-inspired aesthetic of textured and wood-panelled embellishments, each element of the design feeds into the holistic experience of the house. Robson Rak selected a Zip HydroTap as a nod to a salubrious and functional lifestyle in a contemporary method. A paragon for impactful living, the Zip HydroTap is the ideal adornment for the open plan room. Rejuvenated with consistent hues of neutral tones, the overall aesthetic creates moments of tranquillity and serenity in each room.
The overarching minimalism celebrates the simplicity of the architects’ design that prioritises pragmatism, meticulous craftsmanship and a unique story that exemplifies the resident’s ways of living. Ostensibly exquisite in purpose, form and narrative, Robson Rak encapsulated a home that balances priorities. Without wanting the home to feel cavernous, Stables House is a vibrant, intimate and elegant orchestration of space. Exploring the intimacy versus spaciousness, the house is an idyllic representation of a considered, compelling and human-centric design.
Photography by Lauren Bamford
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