Let the Sunshine In

A traditional home in Richmond, Victoria, is made over to welcome light (and potential new additions to the family)


Hong Kong- and Melbourne-based building and interior design studio HOLA PROJECTS worked closely with their clients to re-imagine a modern home befitting a variety of evolving activities and a growing family, while paying homage to the building’s original structures and Victorian features.

The structure comprises a Victorian terrace and an upper-floor addition with bedrooms, an ensuite and a balcony, while downstairs a suite of living rooms includes the dining room and kitchen and extends into the courtyard. Though each space in the house has its own character, there’s an overarching contrast between rich tonality and the natural light that filters in through various apertures: the existing Victorian windows, sky views and slot windows allow light to stream in from all angles. To draw the elements of the home together, a ribbon of deep-green walls weaves through the home from front to back.

The designers incorporated the client’s collection of contemporary artworks and vintage furniture to add powerful bursts of colour and focus points in the home. In keeping with the ‘furnished’ approach, they favoured free-standing lighting as opposed to ceiling mounted fixtures. Of the latter there is only a small a selection of pendant lights, carefully chosen to add a sense of age and grace to the otherwise modern home, and to give a nod to the building’s original Victorian facade and preserved brick gables.

Metallic mesh, chosen for its transparency, levity, and ability to catch and reflect light, is incorporated throughout, and most prominently in the centrepiece of the home: the structural steel jungle gym staircase that spans the two storeys from floor to ceiling. The structure is as practical as it is striking, functioning as portal, hanger and sideboard. It creates the illusion of extended space by drawing the eye upward and allows filtered light to bounce down into the ground floor level.

By carefully considering the environment and the clients’ needs, HOLA PROJECTS has created a contemporary and characterful family home representative of the studio’s innovative approach to design.

Text / Simone Schultz
Images / Daniel Aulsebrook