Waltham Jewel by Melbourne Design Studios

Redesigned in 2016 by Melbourne Design Studios, Waltham Jewel is a contemporary single family house located in Melbourne, Australia.

Modern interior with wood paneled walls, concrete floors, plush seating, and abstract artwork.
A cozy living room with patterned wallpaper, plush furniture, and a striking artwork.
A modern kitchen with sleek white cabinetry, a marble-clad island, and pendant lighting.
A modern kitchen with sleek white cabinets, marble backsplash, and skylights providing ample natural light.
A modern kitchen and dining area with wood accents, pendant lights, and concrete flooring.
A modern bathroom with a black and white mosaic tile design, a chandelier, and a black sink.
A modern, minimalist bathroom with a sleek vanity, black mosaic tiles, and a freestanding bathtub.
Sleek, modern bathroom with white freestanding tub, tiled walls, and glass shower.
Modern, open-concept home with sleek kitchen, dining area, and covered outdoor patio.
A grand Victorian-style house with a wrap-around porch, ornate window trims, and a slate roof.

About Waltham Jewel

A Glimpse into Richmond’s Finest: The Waltham Jewel

Melbourne Design Studios (MDS) stands out with its ingenuity and adaptability, as demonstrated by the Waltham Jewel project. This endeavor not only clinched a win in the BDAV Awards 2016 but also earned finalist status in the Australian Sustainability Awards 2016. Initially, developers tasked MDS with creating contemporary residences. Yet, they took an unexpected turn by also rejuvenating a neglected heritage home on the site, turning it into one of Richmond’s most exquisite residences.

Marc Bernstein, the MDS director, led this transformation. Developers, initially indifferent to the Victorian-era home, found themselves captivated by its transformation. “The developers were astounded by the home’s beauty and commercial appeal,” Bernstein recalls. His team removed several wooden extensions, converting the space into a formal living area, two bedrooms, a spacious bathroom, and a study.

Blending Heritage with Modern Elegance

The renovation respects the original heritage charm while infusing modern elements and abundant natural light. Bernstein’s approach gave each room a unique character, creating a cohesive yet distinct atmosphere throughout the home. “We aimed to unite the smaller details with the overarching theme, making the home truly special,” he explains.

The family bathroom epitomizes this methodology. It features a biofuel fireplace, a chandelier, and Italian mosaic tiles from floor to ceiling. Bernstein describes a scene where the morning sun reflects off the chandelier, adding a shimmering effect to the room. “Lighting the fireplace on a chilly morning offers a rejuvenating start to the day,” he notes.

Innovative Design and Sustainability

At the home’s back, a staircase descends to a “services core,” including laundry and a powder room, leading to a two-story addition. This new structure is strategically placed to maximize solar heating and opens up to a garden facing north. Bernstein highlights the living, dining, and kitchen areas’ seamless integration with the outdoors, enhanced by bi-fold doors and a cozy window seat. The interior’s walnut veneer walls and subtle architectural details add a layer of sophistication.

The design also incorporates thermal efficiency; a “chimney stack” effect ventilates the upper levels during warmer months. Bernstein describes the upper landing as a large, balcony-like space that serves as both a thermal regulator and a functional area. “It’s a unique feature that elevates the home’s design and efficiency,” he concludes, emphasizing the project’s blend of aesthetics, functionality, and sustainability.

Photography courtesy of Melbourne Design Studios

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- by Matt Watts