Hobart, Australia: my current hometown and a place I don’t talk up often enough. It’s known for its dramatic natural surroundings and sandstone heritage buildings, but we got to check out some unexpected architectural delights earlier this month. Heritage, meet modern.
Overall it was a very cool experience to check out Open House Hobart, seeing spaces that aren’t normally open to the public and talking with homeowners and architects about how their plans went down. Jamie and I had a great time, and I’ll be back next year to see the ones I missed. Hi Hobartians, I hope I wasn’t too obnoxious with my giant camera in tow, it certainly made me feel self-conscious.
How do you turn a tiny, disused, circa-1829 stable into a fully-appointed home? The original structure of The Barn (or #thebarnTAS) was left raw: painted sandstone, brick inners and heavy beams. A mezzanine level was added to create a bedroom upstairs, complete with a tiny writing nook by the window. Nice opportunity to flex architectural muscle, create boutique accommodation and restore a piece of our city’s heritage. The architect-owners (@workbylizandalex) just received several National Architecture Awards for their work, well done guys.
Every new fitting is simple and low-profile, in order to leave the original elements distinct. I like that pivoting door/window a lot. The entire renovation is functional, sustainable, and creative.
The back of this colonial sandstone house had this modern extension attached, all tucked away. Rather than having one large open space, though, the homeowner opted to section it off into multiple rooms. It was a tight space with plenty of little nooks and discoveries, but the amount of light (and plants!) gave it a calm feeling. My photos are not doing this place justice.
I was super impressed by the integration of indoor/outdoor: windows all facing a central courtyard, the bathroom adjacent to an open alcove with native plants, even a miniature feature garden in the living area. So cool.
This shmancy hotel accommodation is a single-level modular structure that was lifted with a crane and deposited on top of an existing building. How about that!
This place has two major things going for it: its spacious layout and, of course, its rooftop views. It sits directly above St David’s Park where you can see the roads leading to Battery Point, the waterfront and Mt Wellington.
There are two bedrooms, but surely this place is ideal for having a mess of people over, like a wedding party or a New Year’s Eve celebration. Apparently it’s popular with locals for that very reason. (Jamie actually sent the link to one of our friends who loves to plan extravagant events, because you never know.)
Home, and never-ending labour of love, for local architect Chris Clinton. He was on site, happily chatting away and welcoming our questions. This house is a fine showpiece, to be sure, but it’s also a personal passion and I could have listened to him tell us about every single element.
He told Jamie and I about how he scored big on Gumtree and got a shipping container full of hardwood timbers. Boom, Tasmanian oak floorboards and luscious red myrtle paneling everywhere. The kitchen counter is myrtle as well, with a steel surface and a hidden pull-out table. The textured wall panelling in the living/kitchen area was salvaged from 1950s buildings, as were the milled cabinet fronts. This must have taken so much time and effort. Unreal. I’m inspired to step it up with fabricating things ourselves.
This place was also A+ on furnishings. Like, not only did it have top-shelf materials, joinery and design, it had great vintage lights and homewares throughout. Our house feels like a depressing pile of junk and bad decisions in comparison.
This building was formerly the press hall for The Mercury, the local newspaper. It now contains several businesses, including Franklin, a groovy restaurant downstairs. (Its industrial surrounds are tempered by organic materials everywhere – designer timber furniture, statement plants, leather, even animal skins. It’s #myaesthetic all over.)
Anyhow — this is the studio for architecture firm Core Collective. (It’s also the workplace for that same dude who owns the New Town Road house.) I’m just gonna pack it in as a creative I think, because my skillset feels so miniscule in comparison. I’m inspired and intimidated. Yep.
So that was this year’s look at the places we saw. There were many more on the docket that we didn’t get to, which will have to wait until next year. Ahem, Dorney House. Next year.
I saw a lot of Tasmanian oak, native plants, succulents, old weathered brick, steel trims, other Tassie timbers, and vintage/MCM furnishings. These fitouts were sympathetic to their buildings’ histories, as well as their setting in Hobart. Multiple places left me feeling inspired about the clever ways people work with small spaces. So many adaptable, versatile ideas all around.
THANK YOU to the organisations, volunteers, individuals and businesses who collaborated to host this event! Judging by the amount of people I saw, I think it was well received.