Restoration and reinvention – St Huberts House by Robson Rak
If walls could talk, St Huberts house would surely have many interesting tales to tell.
Originally built in the 1880s in St Kilda, this grand Victorian mansion started out as a singular residence, home to the wealthy elite who resided in this neighbourhood at the time. Then in the 1910s, the home was reconfigured as four separate apartments, each used as an artists residence. A transformation that was very much reflective of St Kilda’s flourishing identity as a bohemian haven. This separation saw external staircases and a haphazard collection of porches and balconies added to the residence, while the home remained relatively unchanged internally. In 2017, St Huberts was purchased by a local family who sought out architecture and interior design firm, Robson Rak, to renovate what would become their dream home. And what a marvellous job they have done.
Tasked with reverting St Huberts to a single dwelling, Robson Rak has quite literally stripped away the layers of time, reinstating the intended grandeur of the home. Internal walls were removed to reveal the original bones, and through careful and considered attention to detail, they have expertly managed to reconcile the home’s heritage sensibilities with incredible modern additions.
With an eye on the past, present and future, Robkson Rak have navigated the balance of old and new superbly. While the original detailing, cornices and plasterwork are restored, they have left their own mark in new elements incorporated throughout, giving a sense of timelessness to the home. Stone, timber, marble and steel create a feeling of warmth and it’s these layered materials that not only honour the rich history of the building but will see it move forward in style for the next 100 years.
Robson Rak’s commitment to refining the building’s Victorian features is matched by the respectful and intentional inclusion of modern craftsmanship and innovation. Their approach is especially evident in the open plan kitchen and living space, which is highly contemporary, yet its soft palette sees it fit in perfectly with its heritage surrounds.
When it comes to the existing house, most features have been retained and restored, including the ornate Victorian cornices, arches and decorative ceiling. And of course, our favourite feature, the grand fireplace found in the living room. The home’s original hearth has been updated with a custom marble surround, which links into a baseband that connects the entire room. And inside, the Stûv 21 now proudly sits. This update beautifully references the ornate detailing of the existing fireplace but in a contemporary application consistent with St Huberts new identity.
Through a sensitive process of resurrecting the home’s period features while integrating modern design and innovation, Robson Rak has revived St Huberts, ensuring the home’s longevity for years to come.
Build: DDB Construction
Photography: Mark Roper
Styling: Marsha Golemac