Project Profile – Milk Bar House

Many of us have fond memories of the traditional suburban Milk Bar, most often a period dwelling on a local street corner. Growing up, a trip to the Milk Bar with friends or family was something to look forward to, and everyone had their favourite treat – a Sunnyboy on a hot Summer’s day perhaps? As a child of the 70’s, a real banana milkshake and a bag of mixed lollies was mine.

These days, the old Corner Milk Bar is hot property, highly sort after as the starting point for a dream home. Two (or more) street frontages, a heritage facade, and if you’re really fortunate some original hand painted signage – all the boxes ticked. In the right hands, such properties are transformed into character filled abodes that celebrate the past and embrace the future.

Enter award-winning architects Kennedy Nolan, who worked with builders CBD Contracting to create Milk Bar House, an instantly iconic home for their clients in leafy North Fitzroy, Melbourne.

Inspired by the idea of the Medina of Arab cities where lush central gardens are surrounded by city walls, Milk Bar House features walled spaces that gradually reveal a green ‘oasis’ at the heart of the home. This arrangement of space works perfectly with this inner-suburb triumph, as it provides a private and secure light filled outdoor space that harmoniously connects the original building with the new.

As is the case with exceptional residential projects like Milk Bar House, materiality and attention to every architectural detail is key. In this case, materials with inherent colour within them, including bagged render, timber, ceramic tiles, terrazzo, natural brass and ceramic wall lights compliment the original character of the block-fronted Victorian weatherboard structure. The authenticity of materials create a natural connection with the garden to create a serene inner city retreat.

A prominent architectural feature of Milk Bar House is the integration of natural timber profiles and linings, specifically Native Australian Blackbutt supplied by the Bowens team. Inside, square dressed battens in Blackbutt wrap the kitchen bench, and custom square edged shiplap profile in Blackbutt line the walls of the study nook and extend into the courtyard. Outside, custom scalloped shiplap profile in Blackbutt line the curved courtyard wall and parapet, whilst square dressed battens in Blackbutt extend from the eaves into the interior living space.

Kennedy Nolan and CBD Contractors have expertly used our standard and custom Blackbutt profiles to connect the interior and exterior spaces of the home, blurring the lines between built form and outdoor garden oasis. The result is a relaxed and unpretentious style living for the fortunate owners of Milk Bar House. From Tasmanian Oak to Spotted Gum, American Oak to Hickory, Circa can provide standard and customised timber profile for any residential or commercial project.

Make sure to book an appointment with one of our expert consultants to learn about the possibilities.

Photography by Derek Swalwell.
Architecture by Kennedy Nolan.