Spotted Gum plywood from Big River Group was included in the materials palette for a new building extending from a heritage-protected 1920s structure in Melbourne.

Formerly the State Savings Bank, the heritage building located in the heart of Melbourne was extended by building designer Jackson Fitzroy-Kelly of JFKDESiGN to include new living quarters for their clients, an empty nester couple who sought a stylish and contemporary home that could also accommodate studio and office space below.

The exterior palette of the striking new home includes smooth concrete, black zinc, original red brick and galvanised steel columns, accentuating the warm timber tones used within and balanced by extensive natural light.

The sustainably sourced Australian timber, Big River Armourpanel Spotted Gum plywood was key to the exquisite liveability of this award-winning building design known as ‘Taking it to the Bank’.

The internal timber is a variation of Big River Spotted Gum plywood, and includes window reveals, kitchen carcasses, kitchen joinery and wall panelling. The custom joinery units also double as furniture, especially the bookcase and concealed desk in the guest room/study. The joinery units, such as the bedroom’s window seat and storage unit, are even strong enough to sit on thanks to the F27 Armourpanel – a high-quality, decorative finish timber with exceptional high-strength properties.

Big River’s plywood serves as a link throughout the home, connecting each expertly crafted space and adding depth and richness to the overall design.

Design highlights of the home include custom blown glass pendants by artist Laurel Kohut adding accents of colour; carefully considered windows allowing for daylight to stream in; north-facing 2.7-metre high glazed sliding doors providing views that stretch over the leafy residential landscape; and a beautiful blend of indoor and outdoor living.

According to Jackson Fitzroy-Kelly, liveability has always been the focus for JFKDESiGN. They chose Big River plywood for its durability, unique finish, bespoke application and Australian origins, he added.

Big River Armourpanel is precision-engineered using a cross-ply manufacturing process, bonding five layers of Australian eucalypt hardwood sheets together to form a solid, stable timber. Its durability makes it ideal for use in hardwearing areas, including flooring, wall panelling, screening, cabinetry, ceiling linings and joinery.

Building Awards:

  • 2016 Building Designers Association of Victoria Awards: Residential Design of New Homes: $500,000-$1 million construction cost; Residential Interior Design; Excellence in the Use of Glass
  • 2016 National Building Design Awards: Best Residential Interior Design

Download the video of the Melbourne home design project.