Fitzroy House by Fiona Lynch Design Office | Yellowtrace

Fitzroy House by Fiona Lynch Design Office | Yellowtrace


Originally the Lara Boot Factory in Melbourne’s Fitzroy, Hargraves Street was converted into a home with a ground floor office by Ivan Rijavec in the late 1980s. Rijavec inserted graphic steel elements and plasterboard curves, which provided a wonderful basis for Fiona Lynch Design Office (FLDO) when transforming the warehouse into a home for a keen mountaineer and adventurer.

Unfortunately, some of Rijavec‘s design had been stripped by the previous owner. The team at FLDO were highly respectful of the beautiful architectural elements that remained when they undertook the complete renovation of the interior. Much time was spent on details where original elements met with new.

The client brief was to create a private sanctuary with materials dark in tone; joinery to accommodate his extensive art and book collections; and considerable storage for hiking equipment. The internal courtyard brings dappled light into the interior, but there were some difficult design issues to resolve as the space had stepped ceilings and a structural column that needed to be moved, to allow better circulation between the dining area and kitchen.


See other projects by Fiona Lynch on Yellowtrace here.


Fitzroy House by Fiona Lynch Design Office | Yellowtrace

Fitzroy House by Fiona Lynch Design Office | Yellowtrace

Fitzroy House by Fiona Lynch Design Office | Yellowtrace


The design team reworked the layout of the ground floor bathroom and en-suite upstairs. On the ground floor they reintroduced a curved wall as a nod to Rijavec’s original design. Polished plaster wraps around the powder room, whilst the full height joinery sitting opposite creates a dramatic entry.

Materials throughout are dark in tone, like black-stained oak and robust black granite. The library shelving spans two levels, finishing in the study on the 1st floor.  In the powder room, concealed lighting illuminates the mirror, which appears to float in front of the ribbed timber panelling, in turn creating unexpected elements and detail. Small mosaics – matt and gloss – wrap the curved walls. Aged brass in the wall light and towel rail adds a contemporary warmth to the palette. A sumptuous custom carpet was designed for the main bedroom, in order to make the space feel luxurious, counter-balancing the rendered brick walls painted grey and the graphic steel beams of the existing structure.

We had a quick chat to Fiona Lynch Design Office about this stunning project – read on for further insight below.


Fitzroy House by Fiona Lynch Design Office | Yellowtrace

Fitzroy House by Fiona Lynch Design Office | Yellowtrace


+ What was your design inspiration for this project – i.e was it a result of client’s brief, a particular concept or an idea?

Our client approached us with a few fundamental requests which enabled us to draw inspiration from. The renovation had to feel masculine and robust and the internal courtyard was to remain unchanged as he loved the idea of this inner city sanctuary. We also explored modernising the awkward layout and maximising the connection to the courtyard, whilst being mindful not to detract from the architectural detailing demonstrated in the iconic 1990s Ivan Rijavec design.

+ Your favourite thing about this project?

The powder room layout. We had plenty of MDF templates fabricated on site until we settled on the perfect curves to form the powder room walls. We had all sorts of site restrictions to work around, especially the location of the plumbing. The soft curves make the powder room very alluring and the dark timber wall panelling and two toned brass trapeze sconce enhance this.


Fitzroy House by Fiona Lynch Design Office | Yellowtrace

Fitzroy House by Fiona Lynch Design Office | Yellowtrace

Fitzroy House by Fiona Lynch Design Office | Yellowtrace


+ Most challenging aspect?

Levelling out the existing 4 tiered ceiling on the ground floor to achieve one continuous ceiling plane. The existing ceiling had curved bulkheads which really restricted how the layout could be re-configured.

+ What did you learn during the project?

We learnt how to make curves and awkward angles work in harmony.

+ Any interesting/ funny/ quirky facts you share with us?

The client is a mountaineer and adventure man. We incorporated a small platform extending from the double height library for him to perch on whilst enjoying his extensive library. There were also conversations between the builder and client (we stayed out of this one) about a rock climbing wall in the courtyard. We wouldn’t be surprised if this has been installed since handing over the project!



[Images courtesy of Fiona Lynch Design Office. Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Film by Paris Thompson/ Sirap.]


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2 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Sal Scarce

    Absolutely nailed the brief!

    Definitely Robust & Masculine, the use of the curves (synonymous with the female form) add just the right touch of softness.

    “It is the bold man that every time does best, at home or abroad” – Homer

    The above quote sprang to mind when I first saw this home. If a home is the reflection of the person that lives in it, then I envision this to be the home of a bold, masculine and discerning man with impeccable taste and high expectations of himself and those he surrounds himself with.

    If I am incorrect in my assumptions, then at least I had a bright moment in my day imaging Mills & Boone’s next hero!

    Awesome job Fiona Lynch & Team…and thanks for the daydream!


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