View of the heritage cottage from the garden
A Rare Parcel
Porebski purchased what was then a Victorian cottage in a derelict state, sitting on land of approximately 1,000 square metres in area. Porebski’s close friend and tennis partner also discovered this rare ‘package’ in the Grove at the same time. “They amicably agreed to share the property, rather than outbidding each other,” recalls Alex Porebski, who worked with Andre on the design.
Porebski bought the cottage and extended this, and designed a contemporary home for his friends, a couple who were scaling down from their family home. “They were more interested in having a completely new house rather than facing the issues involved in restoring a heritage home,” says Andre Porebski. However, unlike many subdivisions, with clear separation of ownership, Porebski included shared facilities in the design, such as basement car parking for six cars. Porebski also sensitively integrated the past into the present with a semi-detached pavilion adjacent to the new home, suggesting the form of the Victorian cottage with its pitched roof. “It’s still quite a magical space. And it’s quite private. There’s no through traffic,” says Andre.
Classic, but Contemporary
“We wanted a contemporary house, but we didn’t want it to say circa 2000. From memory, we used the words classic, but contemporary. It also had to be practical, with sufficient room to have the family for dinner. Fewer, but more spacious rooms” says the owner. Another aspect of the brief was for a low-maintenance house that was robust for grandchildren. The owners also requested his and her bathrooms, as well as two separate dressing areas. “I was quite specific. I wanted to be able to sit down and get dressed,” she adds.
Porebski’s clients weren’t exactly sure what they were getting. The exposed concrete beams in the ceiling, for example, weren’t on the couple’s agenda. “I told them if they didn’t like the beams they could always paint them or alternatively cover them with plaster. But I knew they’d appreciate this detail once they moved in,” says Porebski. “I didn’t really understand the concept at the time but it’s one of the features that I wouldn’t part with,” adds the owner.