Originally the Lara Boot Factory in Melbourne’s Fitzroy, Hargraves Street was converted into a home with a ground floor office by Ivan Rijavec in the late 1980s. Rijavec inserted graphic steel elements and plasterboard curves, which provided a wonderful basis for Fiona Lynch Design Office (FLDO) when transforming the warehouse into a home for a keen mountaineer and adventurer. Unfortunately, some of Rijavec‘s design had been stripped by the previous owner. The team at FLDO were highly respectful of the beautiful architectural elements that remained when they undertook the complete renovation of the interior. Much time was spent on details where original elements met with new.

The client brief was to create a private sanctuary with materials dark in tone; joinery to accommodate his extensive art and book collections; and considerable storage for hiking equipment. The internal courtyard brings dappled light into the interior, but there were some difficult design issues to resolve as the space had stepped ceilings and a structural column that needed to be moved, to allow better circulation between the dining area and kitchen.

The design team reworked the layout of the ground floor bathroom and en-suite upstairs. On the ground floor they reintroduced a curved wall as a nod to Rijavec’s original design. Polished plaster wraps around the powder room, whilst the full height joinery sitting opposite creates a dramatic entry. Materials throughout are dark in tone, like black-stained oak and robust black granite. The library shelving spans two levels, finishing in the study on the 1st floor.

In the powder room, concealed lighting illuminates the mirror, which appears to float in front of the ribbed timber panelling, in turn creating unexpected elements and detail. Small mosaics – matt and gloss – wrap the curved walls. Aged brass in the wall light and towel rail adds a contemporary warmth to the palette. A sumptuous custom carpet was designed for the main bedroom, in order to make the space feel luxurious, counter-balancing the rendered brick walls painted grey and the graphic steel beams of the existing structure.