Petersen D91 bricks from Robertson's Building Products Pty Ltd were the material of choice for the owners of a South Melbourne terrace home during the building of an extension.

Designed by Eliza Blair Architecture, the sleek and modern, yet hard-wearing extension sits comfortably alongside the character of the existing terrace house. Having lived in this home for 15 years, the owners sought to retain the building’s little quirks and character as much as possible, given its history as a general store.

Instead of stripping it bare and totally transforming the space, as any architect would love to do, Eliza Blair decided to creatively use the existing quirky features the owners loved and turn them into opportunities. For instance, she retained the existing steel stair (while adding a new balustrade) as well as the fireplace, which runs up both levels and divides the kitchen and dining room. By retaining it, the architect was able to cleverly expose the bricks to zone the spaces and anchor the design, while also successfully providing a connection to the home’s unique past.

The extension was designed to create a three-level forever home for the family of four. As a forever home, the owners wanted long-lasting materials, and bricks were their material of choice.

“My clients fell in love with the Petersen D91 bricks; they loved the tonal variation. And I really liked the tone and texture, too. In fact, it all worked quite organically because we were trying to reference and celebrate the colours of the beautiful bluestone building next door … and the tones of the D91s also really respond to the tones of the gum leaves in the backyard,” Blair commented.

One of the highlights of the extension is the Petersen D91 brick pillar that creates an inviting indoor/outdoor connection, flowing from the back door to the living room inside, culminating in a cosy reading seat.

“That little cosy nook gets all of the afternoon sun, and my client keeps telling me that the bricks look stunning in that corner with the warm evening light coming in. This is where my client loves to read her book… I just love hearing these anecdotal stories of how they live in the house once it’s all completed,” Blair said.

Petersen bricks are paired with aluminium plantation shutters for shading and privacy throughout the top storey. The brick and aluminium combination is beautifully balanced against the remaining palette of Sawn Oak and Nero timber veneer for added warmth with the home extension also featuring Cararra marble benchtops, a concrete slab for the living area and stone floor tiles in the wet areas. This minimalist and sleek palette continues in the interior design by Studio Tom.

Together, Eliza Blair Architecture and Studio Tom have created a unique, character filled forever home that blends modern minimalism with its rich history.

Photographer: Shannon McGrath