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Polychrome House by YSG.STUDIO


To transform the dysfunctional split two-storey, two-bedroom, two-bathroom dwelling into a three-bedroom and bathroom home with and integrated indoor/outdoor retreat space and larger living area.

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The house was designed in the 1960’s by Payne & Hunt Architects and retained its original condition: exposed brick and ample mission brown painted timber. Whilst the brickwork remains a celebrated textural feature, the house blossoms into an energetic design playground bursting with colour as a reflection of the owners’ commitment to ‘joyful living.’

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An original rabbit warren-like floorplan sees a relocation of the kitchen from upstairs to the ground floor (a third guest bedroom, loft with study and ensuite replaces it). Rejecting a conventional layout, a custom brick plinth delineates the new kitchen from the living area. This addition dually serves as an open liquor display.

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The removal of the existing rear façade and realigning it with the storey above expands the lounge area’s footprint. Bold crazy paving now connects the internal and external living areas. Flat bars replace enclosing wooden balustrades on the staircase, whilst bathroom walls are divided by colorful timber dowels to separate bed from bath, further extending the spatial parameters of the rooms whilst enabling ample natural light to flow freely.

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Colour plays a pivotal role with contrasting quiet and bold schemes. Warm shades of white, mushroom pinks – including the stairway leading to the first floor – and black are the base neutral shades holding everything together to create harmony, whilst the brighter and deeper shades draw attention to the living areas and modular hero décor items. Local company, Lymesmith, developed a colour palette to complement the exposed brick walls using bold tones on the surrounding surfaces, culminating with a mural on the bricks themselves directly behind the new fireplace selected for its vintage appeal.

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The abstract artwork was inspired by aerial photographs of the property’s coastal location. It simultaneously animates the area and provides a refreshing alternative to installing a large wall-mounted TV screen, whilst complementing the new paving with its angular form. Bold tonal highlights include the mustard yellow-tinted open pantry joinery, blue integrated fridge cabinets and the terracotta backdrop to the kitchen. Curved seating within this space comprises a white brick plinth fitted with plum-hued seating cushions.

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Iconic modular mid-century furniture complements the original build of the sixties. The outcome is a generously playful and welcoming ‘shelter for living’ within an Australian landscape which firmly rejects basing neutral design schemes on bland notions of resale value. This is an ‘all in’ commitment to self expression as the home wholeheartedly embraces a fearless love of colour.

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Architects: YSG.STUDIO; Area : 200 m²; Year : 2018; Photographs :Prue Ruscoe;

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