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This renovated Victorian shophouse in Melbourne may be a tad anti-social with all of the walls that block it off from the street, but it makes up for it with a friendly greeting. While ten-foot, all-capital letters are not exactly subtle, the white brickwork still manages to help this unusual home blend into its 19th century neighborhood, which also includes warehouses and lots of brick flats from the ‘60s and ’70s.

hello house 2

hello house 3

The single-story Victorian originally featured a storefront with large windows looking out onto the street, and while its location across from a busy cafe presented some potential privacy issues for the family moving in, they still wanted to engage with their community. In addition to a full interior renovation, OOF! Architecture added the conversational wall and a roll-up metal door to either enclose the adjacent patio or open it up to the neighborhood.

hello house 4

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Getting the city council heritage officers to approve the bold modern facade was a challenge, but ultimately, they were won over by the eclectic mix of materials, which mimic architectural styles from various eras represented throughout the neighborhood. OOF calls it “a slightly loud but friendly new face in the street.”

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“The wall allows separate worlds to exist happily side by side with a cheerful public face that gives nothing away about the life behind. Inside, the house adjusts to the needs and moods of its residents – a cosy retreat in winter or an airy pavilion in summer – all secret from the outside world.”