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The perfect blend of new and old: Embracing the elegant Edwardian

Nestled in Melbourne's inner-city suburbs, amidst vibrant streets and modern developments, lie these hidden gems of architectural history: Edwardian and period homes. Loved by buyers for their timeless charm, these elegant residences – when restored well – offer the perfect blend of classic and modern. But how do we strike the balance? We spoke to interior designer Romy Dankner, Founder of Homeroom Studio in Caulfield South, about how to honour a period home’s historical appeal while updating it for modern living.


Unveiling an Edwardian’s essence

Edwardian and period homes exude a timeless elegance that transcends generations.

Characterised by their red brick exteriors, high ceilings, decorative plasterwork and leadlight windows, these abodes capture the essence of a bygone era – and highlight some of Melbourne’s historical legacy.

‘It’s often the ornate facades and spacious front rooms that make period homes attractive to buyers,’ says Romy.

‘It’s almost impossible to walk through the doors of a period home like an Edwardian and not feel some sense of appreciation for times past – and potential for times to come,’ she muses.



The love is in the details

While it's indeed simple to spot an Edwardian home by its character-filled exteriors, their allure transcends mere facades.

‘What I particularly adore about period homes is their wealth of unique details and intricacies,’ says Romy.

‘At every turn, you discover features that elevate its character: bay windows, fretwork, stained glass windows... these small nuances truly redefine a space.’

Contributing to their charm and warmth is the selection of materials used in period homes.

‘During this era, homes boasted sturdy construction with timber and brick, mixed with robust finishes like terracotta and parquetry floors,’ elucidates Romy.

‘These natural materials not only add depth and texture, but also evoke an undeniable sense of authenticity in the home's design.’



Unfolding traditional layouts into modern spaces

While Edwardian and period homes boast plenty of timeless charm, their traditional layouts may present challenges for modern families.

‘It can be tricky to balance honouring a home's heritage while adapting it to suit our contemporary lifestyles,’ says Romy.

‘But by reconfiguring internal spaces, creating adaptable living spaces and integrating modern amenities, we can create functional, family-friendly environments that retain the home's character.’

Another common change? Opening up the back of the home to create an entertainer’s dream.

‘While the rooms of an Edwardian were larger than their Victorian predecessors, their segmented living style is still not in line with our modern lifestyle,’ states Romy.

‘So, one of the first things buyers often do is add to the back of the house with an open plan extension, creating those kitchen, living, dining and indoor-outdoor zones we know and love today.’ 



Let there be (the right) light

When illuminating Edwardian or period homes, your lighting choices should be about more than simply brightening spaces.

Ultimately, lighting offers an opportunity to amplify a period home’s grandeur – and marry tradition with modernity.

Picture this: lofty ceilings adorned with pendant lights and chandeliers, casting a warm glow that dances with the shadows of ornate cornices.

‘These fixtures not only illuminate rooms but also serve as visual anchors, blending old-world charm with contemporary elegance,’ Romy enthuses.

‘It's a delicate dance between preserving history and embracing innovation, and the result is nothing short of captivating.’


Adding your sense of style

When it comes to adding the finishing touches to your period homes, Romy’s advice remains consistent: ‘It’s all about highlighting the old and the new!’

‘So you’ve probably modernised the colours, the layout and added the mod-cons, so bring a nod to the past by incorporating some vintage-inspired furnishings and accessories,’ she suggests.

‘Opt for classic pieces with a modern twist, such as sleek lines and muted tones, to create a timeless aesthetic that pays homage to the past while embracing the present.’

The best way to strike this balance? By consulting an interior designer, one who has experience working with homes just like yours.

‘And start slow,’ she continues. ‘You don’t need to complete the whole house immediately. Wait for pieces that make you feel something – or for a space in the home to tell you what it needs.’



Edwardians in the wild

With Gary Peer & Associates’ home soil in the inner-city councils of Glen Eira and Port Phillip City, our team is no stranger to a beautiful Edwardian or period home.

In fact, last month we listed two stunning properties that were renovated and restored to perfection. And true to form, they didn’t stay on the market for long.

First up was 754 Inkerman Road in Caulfield North. Nestled in a prestigious location, right next to Caufield Park, this home is objectively timeless.

With that classic ornate charm and red brick exterior, it’s almost unassuming from the curb. But as you step inside, you quickly see how these sellers executed the extension meticulously. Flowing seamlessly from the original structure out into the luscious modern entertaining areas.

Just a hop and a step down the road, still in Caulfield North, we sold another beauty, 15 Mayfield Grove.

With spacious living areas seamlessly connected to a private rear garden sanctuary, and a gourmet stone kitchen beckoning culinary adventures, this home offers a haven of sophistication and comfort for both family living and entertaining.



Honouring tradition while embracing the future

There’s so much to love about Edwardian and period homes. They ooze a sophisticated yet homely personality that lures buyers back time and again.

And while their presence is not as widespread in Melbourne as it once was, we believe that fact just makes these architectural gems all the more worth the time and effort.

Because when restored well, they pay you back tenfold in liveability and style.

So, whether you're seeking to preserve the past or create a home for the future, let the timeless allure of Edwardian architecture guide your journey. You simply can’t lose.


Hoping to find your dream Edwardian or period home in Melbourne? See what gems Gary Peer has on offer.

And if you need someone to give you a hand turning your house into a home? Reach out to Romy and the team at Homeroom Studio on Instagram or their website.