{{ propApi.closeIcon }}
Our industry
Our industry $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Economic research and forecasting Economics Housing outlook Tailored market research Economic reports and data Inspiring Australia's building professionals HOUSING The only place to get your industry news Newsroom
Business support
Business support $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Become an apprentice host Hire an apprentice Why host an HIA apprentice? Apprentice partner program Builder and manufacturer program Industry insurance Construction legal expenses insurance Construction works insurance Home warranty insurance Tradies and tool insurance Paperwork gone digital Contracts Online HIA Tradepass HR Docs SafeScan - managing workplace safety Planning and safety services Building and planning services How can HIA Safety help you? Independent site inspections Trusted legal support Legal advice and guidance Professional services Industrial relations
Resources & advice
Resources & advice $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Building it right Building codes Australian standards Getting it right on site See all Building materials and products Concrete, bricks and walls Getting products approved Use the right products for the job See all Managing your business Dealing with contracts Handling disputes Managing your employees See all Managing your safety Falls from heights Safety rules Working with silica See all Building your business Growing your business Maintaining your business See all Other subjects COVID-19 Getting approval to build Sustainable homes
Careers & learning
Careers & learning $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
A rewarding career Become an apprentice Apprenticeships on offer Hear what our apprentices say Advice for parents and guardians Study with us Find a course Get your builder's licence Qualifications Learn with HIA
HIA community
HIA community $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Join HIA Sign me up How do I become a member? What's in it for me? Get involved Become an award judge Join a committee Partner with us Get to know us Our members Our people Our partners Mates Rates What we do Mental health program Charitable Foundation GreenSmart
Awards & events
Awards & events $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Australian Housing Awards Awards program National Conference Industry networking Events
HIA products
HIA products $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Shop @ HIA Products Digital Australian Standards Contracts Online Shipping and delivery Purchasing terms & conditions
About Contact Newsroom
$vuetify.icons.faTimes
$vuetify.icons.faMapMarker Set my location Use the field below to update your location
Address
Change location
{{propApi.title}}
{{propApi.text}} {{region}} Change location
{{propApi.title}}
{{propApi.successMessage}} {{region}} Change location

$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Mid century remodel

Taking on the renovation of an architect’s own home may add to the pressure of a build, but for Kleev Homes in Victoria this is all in a day’s work.

Mid century remodel

Taking on the renovation of an architect’s own home may add to the pressure of a build, but for Kleev Homes in Victoria this is all in a day’s work.

{{ tag.label }} {{ tag.label }} $vuetify.icons.faTimes
In the scenic beachside suburb of Sandringham, Melbourne, a simple 1960s bungalow has been transformed into an intriguing family home reminiscent of the mid-century modernist architecture famous to California’s Palm Springs. 

These Hollywood playground homes, mostly built between 1940 and 1970, were designed to link with the natural environment – but also tolerate it – often blending into the mountainous desert landscape and incorporating hardy materials such as steel, stone and wood. Large, moveable glass panels, now second nature to today’s homes, facilitated a fusion of indoor and outdoor living, inspired by the balmy climate and the holidaying lifestyles of the homeowners. 

Gabrielle Chariton

Author

Contributor to Housing

A number of these traits can be seen throughout the ‘Butterfly House’, a renovation/addition project years in the making for architect Simon Perkins and his family. Grey blockwork carries from the exterior indoors, warmed by American Oak floors and joinery, while bold colour blocking and hints of black steel serves to counterbalance the timber. 

James Kleverlaan, owner of Kleev Homes, who directed the construction of the single-storey home, says it has a relaxed and comfortable vibe as soon as you step inside. ‘It’s not a huge house but it feels really open and light, with the highlight windows and the butterfly roof,’ he says. ‘The timber ceiling looks amazing when you walk in.’

Simon, a director of architecture practice Pleysier Perkins, effectively doubled the footprint of the house with his plans for the extension. Notably, he mirrored the existing skillion roof over the addition to create a butterfly. Skillfully clad oak-lined ceilings add to its drama, under which the kitchen, dining and sunken lounge room now exist. 

James says that the build ran smoothly with great collaboration between all involved, ‘which is the aim for all of our high-end residential projects the business completes each year’. But one main challenge was to ensure the ceiling heights at the rear of the house married up to the front so there was a smooth transition between old and new.

‘The difficult part of the job was all the detailing in the timber-clad ceiling, and the structural steel within that,’ he says. ‘It’s a credit to the foreman and carpenters onsite because it’s beautiful [workmanship].’
Grey blockwork carries from the exterior indoors
The difficult part was all the detailing in the timber-clad ceiling
While not ostentatious, this home is all about the fine details, which when combined, dress to impress. From the little shadow lines and external stepped 20mm blockwork to the window seats or the peppered terrazzo tiles in the master ensuite, the balance of materials and the quality of finish generates some serious wow factor. 

Given its coastal location in Victoria, which experiences weather extremes in summer and winter, hydronic underfloor heating and energy-efficient windows were installed. The abundance of glass filters in natural light and helps to provide a connection to pockets of garden and the backyard pool, with the glazing ensuring ‘a nice ambient temperature’ is maintained. 

The home’s mid-century origins pop up in the steel pergolas, exposed and articulated over the poolside deck off the rear rumpus, as well as over a north-facing courtyard at the front of the house. Sliding glass doors from the dining room open onto this garden enclosure, a relaxing spot to entertain that is well separated from the teenager’s retreat at the back.

Steel is seen again internally in a vertical black structural column that helps to prop up the roof to the side of the kitchen. Off this, a dividing wall in muted emerald adds a measure of privacy for the meals preparation space from the entryway, its striking hue contrasting against the dark cabinetry. 

James says when you come through the front door, the kitchen sits to the left of the dining area behind this wall, a seemingly modest space, with more than meets the eye. ‘It’s almost like a galley, you can walk right through it down to the back area of the house,’ he explains. ‘There’s another butler’s kitchen, with the fridge, more bench and cupboard space, but it’s all hidden away.’
The home is reminiscent of the mid-century modernist architecture famous to California's Palm Springs
Peppered terrazzo tiles
After an 11-month build process, the successful completion of the project came down to expertise and collaboration; a creative designer and a skilled building team to execute the vision. With Simon living around the corner during the build process this meant any issues could be quickly resolved onsite; doubly advantageous when the client was also the architect.

‘You could just make a phone call or do a quick sketch on the wall showing an option [to approve],’ James says. ‘We didn’t have to go through the process of issuing a full set of drawings for the client. It saved everyone time and money.’ 

For Kleev Homes, which works primarily on negotiated contracts with a dozen or so architects in and around Melbourne, it has found a niche where the business excels. Though the rapport between James and the directors at Pleysier Perkins is a little more special than most.

‘We’ve had a long relationship, for more than 20 years, and always have one or two jobs going for them,’ James says. ‘We finished this house and then completed Ramon Pleysier’s home – another ‘60s renovation that looks fantastic. 

‘We’ve completed six other architects’ own residences too; it’s a good selling point to a client when an architect says “I used him on my house”.’

Fittingly, Pleysier Perkins is currently working on plans for James’ own family home, situated on 50 acres just out of Melbourne, which he hopes to start moving on over the next 12 months. Right now though, he’s focused on the business and the pipeline of work in this current economic climate. But he says it’s nice to be reminded on a job well done. 

‘You just try to get a project over the line, making sure the clients are happy, and it’s not until you can sit back and relax that you realise how nice a job everyone’s done. [This one] is something to be proud of,’ James says. 

‘There’s a lot involved in building, and it’s definitely a team effort with the architects, the clients and the trades.’ 
American Oak ceilings

Butterfly House at a glance

Builder

Kleev Homes

Architect

Simon Perkins, Pleysier Perkins

Landscape design

Matt Walsham

Location

Melbourne

Materials:

  • Roofing: Colorbond matte finish
  • Ceiling: American Oak, Everist Timber
  • Masonry: Adbri masonry
  • Windows: Windows by Design
  • Flooring: American Oak, Everist Timber; Signorino Tiles
  • Kitchen joinery: Cabinet & Furniture Shop
  • Kitchen benchtop: Saboath honed finish, Parthenon Marble
  • Lighting: supplied by Lights & Tracks
  • Heating and cooling: Mod Cons.