nido house – Melbourne

The project has been coined from the Italian word “nido” meaning bird’s nest or kindergarten, so fitting for a project that developed from its mid-twentieth century migrant history in the area of Melbourne’s Princes Hill which borders Carlton.The home was purchased as a desire to return to the original place of origin when the client’s grandparents first migrated from Italy to Australia. This journey has been an exploration between Angelucci architects and builder, Belarte Building to explore the opportunities possible in small living in the city. Critical to the value of small living is the ability to maximise natural light, increase open space, extend views into the distance, maximise natural ventilation and ensure all aspects of modern life have been catered for in the design. The home was originally designed for a young couple and during the journey has developed into a home for six. The design approach was to maintain the existing open space by re-distributing the open area throughout the house. Each level is connected to the outside, via a central courtyard next to kitchen/dining/living and roof deck accessed from all areas within the home. The children have been central to the design with upstairs bedrooms directly connected to the roof deck including a cubby house in the existing Victorian terrace roof space and a vertical garden for planting whilst the city skyline and neighbouring rooftops frame the children’s activities. From the kitchen downstairs the roof deck is visible through the courtyard up the stairs, ensuring all occupants are connected to each other in the home.

The staircase is visible from the living areas and acts as a play area for the children with a three-step stoop located between the courtyard and living room. The glazed walkway parallel to the courtyard with its high lofty ceiling introduces the high volume of the kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of this home with food and shared eating central to the family. Entering the kitchen, a large north-facing window accentuates the spirit of the kitchen with light filtering the space in all directions. Views to the adjoining trees give a sense of well-being whilst high timber-lined joinery cupboards highlight the extended vertical volume. The fixed curved kitchen table and banquette fit the family and friends during dinner time a bench allowing guests to mingle whilst the children have an early dinner. The parents’ bedroom located at the front of the home is a retreat with an ensuite and a large walk-in robe that accommodates the children to remove shoes and belonging before they enter the home. Built as the builder’s own home, the exceptional crafting is evident with the finish of traditional materials throughout. This to be the Italian’s plasterers last project imparting their knowledge of Venetian plastering along the walls, terrazzo concrete floors and the cutting of curved welsh slate tiles to the exterior. The application of Australian and Japanese handmade tiles to wet areas and the courtyard ensure the essence of building traditions in contemporary living is highlighted and maintained.

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