The insertion of a contemporary ensuite and robe into this renovated 1930s house in bayside Melbourne is a deft work of interior design.
Different architectural strategies come into play when an older home is being renovated. At one end of the spectrum, the conservative approach is to design new structures and spaces that replicate the original style ; at the other, a distinct modern addition is juxtaposed with the old architecture. But there’s a third way, perfectly illustrated at this beautiful 1930s house in the Melbourne suburb of Elwood. Recently extended to accommodate a professional couple and their two growing boys, its new master ensuite and robe show how contemporary elements can be designed to sit comfortably alongside period detail.
A colour palette that flows from the outside in
As part of the renovation, the exterior of the house was updated with a palette of soft greys, whites and a deep charcoal made richer with an undertone of blue, the colours working to blend the period and contemporary architecture. Inside, these colours reappear, adapted for the interior context.
The master ensuite features a floating vanity, designed with Reverse Bevelled profile drawer fronts for a sleek handle-less look. It’s emphatically modern, yet sits comfortably in the context of the older home, thanks to a soft-grey Essastone Ash Concrete vanity top and white tiled walls that echo the exterior palette, and the rich woodgrain detail of Laminex Raw Birchply, which brings feelings of authenticity and timelessness.
The plywood-look decor also lines the interior of a mirrored shaving cabinet, creating a strong sense of cohesion and craftsmanship in the space. And of course, given real plywood’s susceptibility to water damage, it’s only the hardwearing and water-resistant performance of Laminex laminates that makes either of these woodgrain applications possible.
Material choices that soften boundaries
The ensuite is connected to the master bedroom by a walk-through robe. With original detail in the bedroom including a decorative ceiling and window seating, the choice was made to keep the robe cabinetry as simple as possible. Raw Birchply was again used, in a minimal design that repeats the clean lines of the bathroom cabinetry. On these larger cabinetry panels, the laminate’s beautiful woodgrain detail becomes more apparent. The woodgrain also creates continuity between the two ancillary spaces.
A similar sense of continuity is then created between robe and bedroom, this time with flooring rather than cabinetry. While the ensuite features terrazzo-look flooring, the robe and bedroom are carpeted in a stunning royal blue. it’s the perfect complement to the timber tones and greys of the ensuite and positions the robe as an intermediary space between the period-detailed bedroom and modern bathroom.
The subtle overlapping of colours and textures brings the old and new styles together in a harmonious way, marrying modern amenity with period charm. It makes for a family home that’s elegant and comfortable, and with the extensive use of Laminex laminates, one that will withstand everything a growing family can throw at it!
Click the  Laminex Raw Birchply  link to order a free sample.
Photographer: Eve Wilson
Stylist: Leesa O’Reilly