Nichols House, Eltham, 1972-1973
Image: Architectural Model - Nichols House
Source: Museum Victoria
The Nichols House typifies the free and uninhibited architect-designed house of the 1970s. It is a large sprawling house of brick and timber in unspoilt Eltham bush. In the 1970s, many Melburnians moved to the outlying suburbs of Donvale, Eltham and Lower Plenty in search of a relaxed and alternative lifestyle. A new appreciation of environmental issues and the Australian bush encouraged different client-architect relationships. House design became an intimate process of client participation. The role of the architect as creative hero was lessened. The Nichols House is the product of specific architectural responses to every space and function required by the family. Built on a steeply sloping site, the house has five different levels with a series of spaces within that range from the grand to the intimate in scale. The focal point of the house is the double height volume of the dining room adjacent to the open kitchen. The children's bedrooms have little lofts which look out over the bush through large studio windows. In its planning and its form, this house represents the orchestration of an entire complex of interrelationships that make up a large family home with growing children.