A Subtle Reimagining Of A Significant 1960s Multigenerational Home

This Ivanhoe property was originally constructed in 1963 as two separate dwellings owned by two related families: the Beddisons and the Swifts.

The families’ differing needs and the sloping site dictated the design of the two homes, which are placed one by the other on the leafy site, close to the Yarra River banks.

Now owned by one family of four, the Beddison Swift House recently underwent a sympathetic renovation to combine its two residences (each with their own kitchen and living area) into one connected and visually cohesive home.

The consolidated Beddison Swift House has been reimagined by Jane Cameron Architects and Architect Hewson to be as respectful of the original architecture as possible. The property is historically significant, as it’s one of few designs undertaken by the progressive partnership of prominent modernist architects Guilford Bell and Neil Clerehan.

The recent renovations were contained to the ground floor, leaving the second-storey of the rear home largely untouched.

Steps with a sliding door (located in the location of a former timber ‘hatch’ housing the original owners’ telephones) were firstly introduced to connect the two dwellings.

The floor plan was then modified to remove the kitchen in the front dwelling, creating space for a larger living area.

Lastly, the kitchen and dining area in the rear dwelling were reconfigured to face a new rear deck and the backyard beyond, and allow room for an indoors laundry.

The neutral palette of the updated home is in keeping with the original architecture, with the addition of olive green accents across the sliding door and furniture that reference the bush landscape outside.

Jane Cameron Architects and Architect Hewson’s changes remain hidden from the street, as a sign of respect for the two original architects’ work.

The minimal updates required speaks to the quality and thoughtfulness of Bell and Clerehan’s design, which has been retained for the next generation.

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