Mt Martha Residence

“The brief was to create a home that captured and enhanced the client’s sea change. A place to slow down the pace of life once their busy professional lives came to a close. ”  - Christopher Megowan of Megowan Architecture 

This month, like most Victorians, we too sought a seachange, a breath of fresh air and a moment away from our screens to explore a magnificent new build in Mount Martha. The home was designed by Megowan Architecture -  a boutique architecture studio who focus on extremely detailed high-end residential architecture predominantly in the south side of Melbourne down to the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas. We spoke to Christopher Megowan about all things architecture, sea change and window furnishings.

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Chris began by explaining the client’s brief for their Mount Martha property, “ultimately, this was to be a seachange for our clients, so the obvious must have requirements were to create a statement home befitting the site, maximise the views and put their daily living spaces all on one level. They also wanted to celebrate this new phase of their lives by creating a “hotel like” master bedroom experience.”

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Megowan were also aesthetically influenced by the context of the site, “we aimed to balance a palette of casual, raw and beachy materials with detailing and execution that leans towards the refinement our clients were used to living with in their previous city based home. A covenant restricting the use of timber on vertical surfaces and some of the material restrictions of the Mornington Shire Council also played a part in defining our palette.”

When it came to window furnishings we loved learning of how Christopher’s own history informs his choices, “my great grandfather, grandfather and father all spent their working lives cleaning and dealing in curtains and drapery in West Los Angeles so I spent many of my summers installing drapes. I learned first hand the importance of designing and accommodating for window treatments within homes!” And, like most Architects, Chris expresses a strong opinion and preference for the materiality throughout his designs and particularly when it comes to window furnishings, “I believe living areas only need sheers to filter the light, whereas bedrooms require blackouts for obvious reasons.  I feel that wave form drapes recessed into pelmets add a sophistication and softness to rooms that roller blinds often fail to produce.” 

For this site Chris designed recessed pelmets into joinery and ceilings to accommodate the Lovelight window dressings. From there it was a collaboration between Chris’s team, Lovelight and the client, “discussions were had of where sheers would suffice and the rooms requiring blockout were also identified. We, of course, also expressed our usual preference for ripple fold/wave form sheers to the majority of the living areas.” 

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His advice to all clients is to plan for your window furnishings from the outset, “recessed pelmets often take a bit of planning and coordination upfront (and come with an expense)
so be sure to discuss this early with your architect/designer when beginning the design and documentation of your space...the depth and width of the pelmet all require careful consideration.  Wave form sheers and roller blind blockouts in combination also work quite well. In more tight inner urban spaces, where recessed pelmets would result in lowered ceilings, we often recess the track of the drape into the plasterboard instead of dropping the ceiling.

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When it comes to materials he told us that he thinks, “there has been an ongoing move towards natural and raw materials, increased but careful use of colour and curved walls/arches are clearly in vogue.  As Melbournians become increasingly more and more design aware and house proud I’ve noticed a clear push towards a more local, dare I say, authentically Victorian (the state, not the era) identity in architecture and a movement away from reproduction styles. Layered, textural, detail-rich and warm spaces seem to garner more attention and admiration than the stark, glossy and overly minimal interiors.”

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Back to Mount Martha, this home is a seachange that truly celebrates both the aspect of the home and the time in the client’s life. Even Chris had a hard time pinpointing his one favourite feature of the house, starting by pointing towards the “insitu concrete details throughout (walls, benchtops, floors etc).” But then how can you go past “the procession into the house and the way the view is revealed at the front door and further revealed as you move into the living area.”

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Overall the result is one where the Architects believe their vision was fully realised by the builder Kabsav, and as such “the house just feels like a wonderful place to spend time in and watch the world go by.”

Images: Elise Scott

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