Ashburton Exterior 4 1024x681, Michael Ellis Architects

A North American Influence

A new two storey residence on a sloping block for a family with pre-teen kids looking to build their dream home, designed for the long haul.

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Michael Ellis Architects office

Michael Ellis Architects is headquartered in Elwood, Melbourne.

We believe an architect-designed home should first serve the needs of its inhabitants, carefully considering a family’s collective physical, emotional and financial wellbeing.

Our designs consider the private and public requirements of home: the sanctuaries families retreat to, and the spaces they choose to share with others.

We are fascinated with artisanship, and we appreciate the beauty that can be achieved when natural materials meet skilled hands.

Above all, we are scrupulous stewards of relationship. We show respect for the investment required to realise a project, and coordinate all project inputs with confidence and efficiency, driving compelling built results.


We consider architects stewards of individual expression and are drawn to residential architecture due to the intensely personal nature of the briefs. Our projects begin with the question: “What will make this house a home for you?” and consider ways a house might be made sacred to its inhabitants.

The best residential architecture should reflect the family. For example, how does a particular family share food or embrace technology? And does this impact on the design of shared and private zones? In this way, it is not our role to decide how a building should be personalised. Our job is to listen, ask the right questions, and to unlock the best built solutions that will facilitate the special, private moments that reinforce the most personal of bonds.

External connection

An appreciation for culture brings richness to our work, which we carefully curate from a variety of influences: the Scandinavian love of timber; the Japanese concept of the domestic space divided into public and private zones; and the elevated importance of the bathroom in Middle Eastern architecture, are just some of the culturally-charged influences we prize.

We seek to examine, too, a building’s place within the Australian and global contexts. We consider how a home might respond to the demands of the digital age, support capacity for the Australian love of entertaining, but also serve the higher needs of Antipodean families in their unique, domestic cultural constructs.

Functional living

Investing in an architect-design home is like investing in a tailor-made suit: sure, it should look amazing – and make you feel good – but, first and foremost, it should be a perfect fit. Le Corbusier once said a home should be a “machine for living in.” We wholeheartedly agree: the beauty of our designs is commonly realised through our command of function-first architecture.

Our designs seek to reinforce optimal flow and functionality. With flow comes ease – and ease, in turn, leads to comfort. In this way, we care little about being fashionable. We think there’s no use in having a beautiful home if it doesn’t serve the needs of its inhabitants.

Natural materials evince a robust aesthetic, and we are thrilled when we revisit a project and see it looking as compelling as when it was first designed. After almost two decades in the business, less than a handful of our residential projects have been on-sold. We think this speaks to the deeply personal nature of our projects, which have been tailored to perform optimally for each particular owner.

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No matter the size of the project, be it a modern family home, bathroom renovation or multi-residential units, we understand that the requirements of our clients need to be weighted with the pursuit of architecture.

Contact us for a discussion of how we can support you to achieve your goals within the remit of art and science that is architecture.



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