Krause Emperor bricks from Robertson's Building Products Pty Ltd were used on the exterior of a Victorian era terrace home in Fitzroy, creating an effect “reminiscent of an aged woven tapestry”.

The brief for the Gallery House project sought to downsize an existing Victorian era terrace home to suit the requirements of the client. While the house was transformed into a smaller space, clever design and spatial thinking provided sufficient space to accommodate a lifetime’s collection of art, vintage cars and books, enabling every moment in the house to be filled with memories of their most treasured possessions.

Designed by Inarc Architects, the well-considered alterations and additions including a new kitchen, dining area and studio, give the terrace home a fresh lease of life. Embracing a contemporary style of working and living, Gallery House is large enough for day-to-day activities, and also accommodates visits by the extended family.

Abundant natural light now floods the house through a pop-up lantern over the new dining area. The garage, which houses three cars, has a separate studio on top to serve as the client’s office. The garage’s new glazed walls provide a visual connection back to the house, extending the idea of a gallery space. Inside, walls are adorned with paintings, bespoke shelving houses books in the library and studio, and 3D works and sculptures are also interspersed in the space.

What brings Gallery House to life is the use of a distinct yet complementary interior and exterior material palette: While a light interior maintains that important sense of brightness, the exterior complements the existing brickwork with darker, more textured materials.

Krause Emperor bricks provide a contemporary take on the traditional form, while the studio’s balcony features hit and miss detailing to provide essential privacy while lending a delicate lightness to the masonry work.

“The bricks are a subtle blend of the colours found in the Victorian era brick palette, the colours ranging from creams and soft caramels to dark Hawthorns. And the result is an ever-changing blend of colours reminiscent of an aged woven tapestry. The recessed mortar joints allow each brick to stand out as well as accentuate the fine proportions of each masonry unit. There’s not another brick on the market that combines this almost unpredictable and natural subtlety of colour, texture and proportion,” says Reno Rizzo, architect director, Inarc Architects.

Expansive double glazed steel windows open the kitchen, dining and living room to the Victorian terrace’s courtyard. Charred dark timber soffits add a sense of warmth and texture, and are a contrast to the whitewashed timber floorboards inside. Along with the bricks, the soffits provide an important link between the studio, courtyard and terrace, connecting the new additions back to the existing house.

Photographer: Nicole England