Melbourne house, with vestibule

A vestibule, like a portico or a gazebo, is one of those architectural words that evoke a sense of romanticism. In the case of a vestibule, a small entry hall that connects the front door to the main interior, the term has an added exotic flavour for Australians, simply because our architecture does not often include one.

Interior, exterior. Photography: Shannon McGrath
Interior, exterior. Photography: Shannon McGrath

This is primarily for practical reasons. In Scandinavia or other cold climates, a vestibule is a space for you to shed and store your snow clothes which are not needed inside. In the UK, the same applies but usually for raincoats and muddy wellingtons or gumboots. In Australia, we often need a verandah, where we can shelter in the shade with the benefit of a cool breeze, but we do not normally need a vestibule.

The Melbourne home of Jon Mikulic and family, however, does have a vestibule and a very nice one at that. For Mikulic, founder of Newline Design, this glass entry was a way of avoiding the typical double-fronted period home with central doorway and gun barrel hallway. Instead, the side entry into this vestibule space allowed an approach to the front yard from the side and gave a further opportunity of an expansive garden rather than the typical central path and parterre garden to either side. Plus it’s a great place to keep your bike.

“I love a vestibule,” says Mikulic. “It allows a brief moment at the entry to stop and view rather than forge right in. The vestibule created a great windbreak, good Feng-Shui and an added layer of security. Plus, everyone who enters is given the once over before they can come in.”

The rest of the house is also thoughtfully considered, with the kitchen and the living room opened up from the front to the back via a curved wall. A double height space in the middle of the dwelling connects the ground entry to retreat and deck beyond, opening the spaces both horizontally and vertically, and avoiding the traditional layout of narrow hall with rooms to either side.

A slab of Turkish marble creates a signature element in the kitchen and living space, used as a splash back to the kitchen and running as a feature through the dining room and continuing outside at a total of 15 metres in length.

“The tradesmen on this project were real craftsmen – the stone was cut through the benchtop as a vertical slice,” says Mikulic. “We never tire of it.”

The living and dining rooms are finished with mid century modern and Scandinavian-inspired design pieces, including blonde shelving for books, resulting in a balanced, beautiful and highly liveable home for Mikulic and family – including him, his wife, two daughters and two schnauzers.

Mikulic is the founder of Newline Design and is currently working on a number of projects, from hotels and restaurants, to residential work. Over a thirty year career, he has designed a number of projects including the Croation Catholic Church of Leopold Mandic and hosptiality projects like The Emerson, Duke of Wellington, The Boathouse, 400 Gradi, Charlie Dumpling and its soon to be born little brother, Bā Charlie launching soon. He also has a new range of furniture launching at the Milan Furniture Fair 2015.

More on Newline Design

Living space with feature shelving. Photography: Shannon McGrath
Living space with feature shelving. Photography: Shannon McGrath
Kitchen with feature marble. Photography: Shannon McGrath
Kitchen with feature marble. Photography: Shannon McGrath
Curved wall links front and back. Photography: Shannon McGrath
Curved wall links front and back. Photography: Shannon McGrath

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