Contemporary update to a 1970s home

It is so interesting to see how architects can transform a home, particularly a 1970s project home in the suburbs.  What these houses do offer are usually large blocks with established gardens and trees surrounding them.  I am so glad to be able to show you this update to a 1970s home to inspire you.

The challenge was tough: to take a classic 1970’s Australian home in a semi-rural area and renovate it to meet the desires of today’s homeowner. Located in the Melbourne suburb of Research, Morelle House is a beautiful home on a large, tranquil block. The architect was charged with a bold vision to incorporate the convenience of location with the surrounding, quiet bush environment.

Contemporary renovation of a 1970s house

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We have all seen these homes and many of us, including me, have lived in one.  Solidly built in the 1970s when mission brown was the Surfmist and Monument of today.  Great family homes that are now crying out for an update.

Contemporary update to 1970s home

See the update here to a 1970s home

In response, soon-to-be a registered architect, Taeler Jordan, of For The Love of Design (FTLO Design) undertook her first solo development, and opted to bring the outside in. Staying true to the design aesthetics pioneered by local architects and designers, she incorporated large windows and blurred the lines between gardens and internal spaces.

Contemporary update to 1970s home

Jordan, who is also part of the DevelopHer Collective, a program that empowers women with the education, tools and support to build homes of their dreams, worked to give a modern twist on the 1970s home, both internally and externally. After considerable renovation, the stunning results now speak for themselves. The home nods toward traditional Japanese architectural concepts of charred black classed log cabins, seamlessly employing Axon™ Cladding by James Hardie to bring the concept to life and provide a striking contrast to the natural surrounding landscape. Now complete, the building feels as if it belongs to the space around it.

Contemporary update to a 1970s home

Upon commencement of the project, Jordan wanted to retain a flavour of the initial 1970s brick design while making it relevant and contemporaneous. Her vision was to blend the original lines with clean, stark lines to provide a now-and-then- feel to the property. She opted for Axon™ Cladding by James Hardie to create two stunning black forms, being the new garage and existing home structure, with the entryway providing a singular moment of expression between.

“I love the linear look and clean and simple finished edges of the Axon™ Smooth Cladding. I wanted the aesthetic of the charred black cladding, but also being in a Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) region, it was critically important to select a product that was rated to be compliant against bushfire attacks. Axon™ Cladding is fire resistant, and the type of construction on timber battens, and lightweight nature of the fibre cement product was perfect for our intended aesthetic,” says Jordan.

Contemporary update to a 1970s home

Despite such a dramatic facade and luxury feel, the home was designed with family living in mind, therefore relaxed and practical features were also an important consideration of the build. Warm tones, and natural lighting add to the aesthetic appeal of the indoor living space, while ample storage and the consideration of building materials were key to the practical success of the project.

Update to a 1970s home

Contemporary renovation to a 1970s home

In a striking contrast to the exterior, the interior is a warm white, supported by black and timber accents that offer a sleek, clean and understated look. Throughout the home, extra high ceilings provide instant visual impact while also giving the sense of space. An open-plan kitchen and living area provides a sociable place for family and friends to commune, with an outdoor dining area that has become an extension of the indoor space. The furnishings and finishing touches use varying textures with similar colour tones to create rooms that are interesting and pack a punch.

Contemporary update to a 1970s home

Contemporary renovation to a 1970s home

Bringing the outside in, the window to the front of the house frames a beautiful sculptural gumtree. While aligning with the double height glazed doors to the rear that frames a large and beautiful tree top. An internal courtyard holds a vertical garden providing a memory of what was once there. The terrarium is a beautiful small garden that provides an indoor-outdoor blurring of the lines. Practically greeting privacy and an architectural moment of delight.

Contemporary update to a 1970s home

Contemporary update to a 1970s home

“How a house makes you feel is important when designing a home. With this in mind, I chose materials that had a natural and understated finish, you’ll notice there is a mix of timbers, and concrete with a neutral palette. I wanted the home to have a feeling of space and a sense of calm. It’s about fusing an organic, minimalist, classical style,” says Jordan.

The rear of the house is harmonised with the crisp black Axon™ Cladding and a pergola acts as an architectural series of portals, designed to be both minimal and frame the treetop views beyond.

The home is primarily designed around the view of the landscape, architectural moments, and detail. The final result is a home that exudes a sense of calm; it’s a space that feels tranquil and restful in a quiet neighbourhood, while looking simple yet elegant. “I was really keen to show other homeowners that you can build a beautiful architecturally designed home for a reasonable budget,” says Jordan. “I’m really proud that I’ve achieved my goal.”

1970s renovated home

What I love about this update to a 1970s home

  • The way the home nestles into the landscape is perfect.  The dark tones of the house make it recede into the natural bushland setting.
  • Dark houses can appear quite foreboding, but with the generous opening of floor to ceiling glass, the home feels open and is welcoming.
  • The warm interior colour palette is the perfect foil to the exterior.  The wide natural oak floorboards pave the way for a soft grey and white palette that is contemporary, but also warm and inviting.  The soft taupe pink tones in the linen sheers pulls this scheme together.
  • The bathrooms are divine.  From the fluted basins, to the accents of timber with terrazzo and a white and green palette gives an organic look that is contemporary without being at all sterile.  The bathrooms are slightly different, but maintain a theme, which I really like.

Related: 5 key elements of Scandi style

A contemporary update to a 1970s home

So, when you see one of these homes in your neigbourhood, you can now see the potential for a stunning renovation.  I would love to hear what you think of this contemporary update to a 1970s home – can you believe it is the same house?

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Related: Don't paint your house black until you have read this

Did you know that I have a Free Resource Library?  Whether you are building a new dream home or just undertaking a weekend redecorating project, there will be something there to help and inspire you.  Included in my library is a guide on how to put together a mood board.  You can download the free checklists and e-books here.


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