A Sorrento Beach House Devoted To Its Modernist Past

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The owners of this 1960s McGlashan Everist home in Sorrento held off renovation plans for a decade until they found the perfect architects for the job. Armed with a back catalogue of the McGlashan Everist’s mid-century designs, and a reverence for this coastal piece of mid-century architecture, Melbourne-based firm Cera Stribley were the perfect collaborators for the job.

‘The client’s brief was not to create a new home, but to amplify and respect the existing architecture,’ explains principal architect and director, Chris Stribley. ‘It was very important that we retained as much of the original as possible.’

Rather than focusing on introducing new materials, or significantly changing the home’s footprint, Chris and his team worked on updating structural systems and making slight alterations to the floor plan to suit contemporary family living. Installing hydronic heating and double glazed windows were the first port of call, while replacing the original canvas ceiling would require some more expert attention.

‘We had to work with canvas stretchers and our builders, Leone Constructions, had to custom-make tools so we could tension the canvas properly,’ explains Chris of the specialist job. The construction team received on-site tutelage on how to install the final product! Aside from its distinctive mid century-inspired aesthetic, the acoustic properties of this bespoke canvas ceiling also greatly enhance the home’s internal ambience. Alongside creating these canvas stretchers, specialist timber finishers were also engaged to create bespoke woodwork on the interior joinery and walls, in keeping with the home’s modernist style.

The existing open plan configuration was progressive for its 1960s time stamp, and required just a few tweaks to suit multi-generational family living. For example, the nook in the living room designed specifically for land-line phone calls could go! The kitchens and bathroom needed the most work to bring them firmly into the 21st century, namely updating appliances, hardware and surface finishes to ensure the longevity of these high-use spaces.

The material palette in these renovated rooms was kept totally consistent with the interiors throughout the rest of the house, allowing these functional zones to blend seamlessly with the original interiors which featured timber cladding and raw concrete floors.

Cera Stribley’s valiant utilitarianism sacrificed exciting cosmetic innovations for more subtle structural enhancements, ensuring this heritage home will continue to age gracefully, well into the future!

Does this masterful design work tickle your fancy? See more projects from Cera Stribley here.

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