Caulfield North House was a home deeply rooted in the International Modernist Style of the 1950s and 1960s. Originally designed by renowned and innovative architect, Dr Ernest Fooks in 1961, its serene and simplistic modernist exterior – a split-level cream brick building with a flat roof – was combined with a colourful, extroverted interior to create an architecturally significant home.
In 2016, the current owners were seeking more living space for their family, and a new north-facing garden. So, it was fitting they wanted to move away from mainstream building design, given its bespoke history, while still retaining the home’s existing single storey street presence, in line with the intact modernist neighbourhood.
With the help of Reno Rizzo, Director, Inarc Architects, and his inspiring team, along with the great skill of Visioneer builders, Caulfield North House now has an immaculate addition. Its sympathetic, rational and linear form is very much in keeping with the original design, yet has a clear modern interpretation. “Our design brings to life a new embodiment of Dr Ernest Fooks’ original principles,” says Inarc.
The front third of the property has been retained – including the façade, entry garage and master bedroom suite – and a new rear wing, including interiors, added that “allows for a smooth transition from the living areas onto a new north-facing landscaped garden.”
While sympathetic to the original design, there is an intentional point of difference between old and new, to deliver a clearly recognisable, contemporary touch. Nowhere is this more evident than in the material palette, in particular the continuance of face brickwork as the principal building material.
“We decided to use Krause Emperor Bricks, in Ghost, because they offered a softer and subtle cream and grey tonality to the building, which stood apart from the more strident apricot and cream blend of the original wire cut bricks,” Reno remarks.
The long, slender shape of the Krause Emperor bricks was another positive point of difference for Reno and his team. “We particularly liked the Emperor bricks – with their extra-long and extra-low profiles, and dimensions of 380mm x 110mm x 45mm … and the joints were recessed, square raked, which accentuates every brick.”
The bricks were beautifully paired with “white stained cedar and champagne-coloured metal, adding richness to the original palette in a very subtle way.” Of course the artisan quality of Krause bricks simply adds to the richness of the overall palette. “Krause bricks seem to be made up of a blend where every brick is of a slightly different colour, which gives them that handcrafted, tapestry-like quality,” Reno comments.
In keeping with the original home, the interiors once again present an exuberant and rich variety of colours, textures and materials, while the new landscaped garden and pool pays homage to the original modernist Palm Springs design, complete with sculptural succulents and vibrant colours.
Caulfield North House is simply stunning. This thoughtful addition beautifully integrates old with new and is rich in quality materials and craftsmanship. As Reno says, “We are privileged to be have been able to add another chapter to the history of brick residential construction over half a century after Dr Fooks’ original composition.” Indeed, there is no doubt that Dr Fooks would greatly admire Caulfield North House today, particularly the way it clearly embodies his original principles in a thoroughly modern way.
Architect and Interior Designers: Inarc Architects
Product: Krause Emperor Bricks, Ghost
Landscape: Robert Boyle Landscape Design
Photographer: Sharyn Cairns Photography