The New Old dwelling in Australia by Jessica Liew

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The New Old house is situated on a small site in inner city Melbourne, Australia that has been designed with honesty, natural, light, texture, simplicity and privacy in mind by architect Jessica Liew. There is simple, relaxed feel about this 4,144 square foot (360 square meters) house, loaded with character from the natural materials used including concrete, recycled tumbled bricks and hardwood timber. These provide an honesty and rawness so rarely seen these days – an antithesis to the glitz, luxe and glamour often seen in popular magazine and television programs. To the architect/owner, the aim was to build a relaxed, private home that was energy efficient, practical and imbued with character from the all-natural materials used – complementing their extensive collection of art and antiquities from their travels. The result is remarkable; a home that has outwitted even other architects who have mistaken it for a renovation, rather than a newly-built dwelling on what was previously the neighbor’s tennis court.

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Accommodation: double storey dwelling comprising formal living, library, cellar, study, casual living and dining, separate laundry, rumpus, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and 3 car accommodation.

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6 star energy rated: double glazed windows and skylights, double hung ceilings, double insulated stud walls,reverse brick veneer walls, underground water tank, hydronic slab heating, recycled bricks, custom double height pile wool carpet, regenerative hardwood timbers throughout.

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‘Switchable’ spaces including a study turning into a guest bedroom (murphy bed); rumpus or second study on level 1; and studio or 3rd bedroom upstairs.

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A courtyard sized to a car space for future additional parking requirement. Hidden storage and joinery throughout.Custom steel framed glass pivot doors replacing a conventional front door, the recessed floor mat is the only give away.

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Antique Chinese screen doors framing the fishpond corridor , mural by celebrated Melbourne street artists Ghostpatrol and Miso; retention of the original chain wire mesh tennis court fencing and tennis court roller; all rooms feature a garden, fishpond or courtyard aspect.

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Honesty: respect and transparency for all natural materials used – predominant palette comprising black concrete, white painted tumbled bricks and natural timber finish waiting to age with the house.

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Photos: Jaime Diaz-Berrio, Jessica Liew

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