Text description provided by the architects. A heavenly plant-filled atrium brings life, light and connection into the heart of this family home. From the outside, Casa Atrio has the character of an Italianate-style terrace, intertwining decorative classical architecture with a Victorian-era home. Ornate and picturesque, the style is unique to Melbourne when the city was fuelled by the prosperity and optimism of the gold rush late nineteenth-century. But step inside, and the light-filled home has the charm of a classic Parisian apartment with elegant detailing, custom furniture and spaces for family and friends to gather.
We were engaged to create a light, spacious and inviting home for a young Melburnian family who enjoy the inner-city lifestyle and have a strong appreciation for history, architecture and design. Located in a heritage overlay area, Casa Atrio sits amongst a long row of picturesque Italianate-style terraces with decorative parapets and ornate cast-iron lacework. We restored the exterior to bring out the bygone beauty of the Italianate façade and designed the interior with timeless French charm.
The home is architecturally conceived in three sections to provide light and life throughout the day. Voids and skylights bring light into the house, overcoming the constraints of the long and narrow site, and open-plan living spaces connect with the outdoors to provide spaces for the family to interact and entertain.
The hallway and master bedroom receive morning light and engage with the street. A plant-filled, glass-enclosed atrium opens up the centre of the house and allows for views between the kitchen and staircase to the children’s bedrooms upstairs. A large skylight bathes the lounge in sunlight and floor-to-ceiling glass doors connect the living space to the landscaped courtyard where a gabled roof protects the porch.
The material palette and detailing are warm and timeless. Parisian-style wall panelling creates depth in the narrow space, visually elongating the hallway and bringing dimension to the walls. Chevron timber floors add some French allure, and sheer curtains gently diffuse light and softly move in the breeze. The bathrooms elegantly blend chevron patterning and natural stone, and brass and black-metal detailing provides a crisp, clean finish through.
We custom designed interior elements as freestanding pieces, true to European style. The kitchen has the sense of being a furniture piece rather than built-in joinery, with cupboards framing the benchtop and appliances, the rangehood integrated into the bench to maximise storage and seamless surfaces.
Customised furniture also enhances the sophistication of Casa Atrio, including the nine-seater dining table with chamfer detailing, Biasol’s Tondo mirror resting against the panelled walls, and the velvet-finished bedhead with complementary side tables in the master bedroom.
Casa Atrio is a light, spacious and inviting home for enjoying and celebrating the cherished moments of family life. Filled with charm and elegance, it pays tribute to the classical beauty of Italian architecture and the delightful romance of French design.