Home to the owners for 30 years this house was completely reimagined for the future.
Home to these owners for more than 30 years, this house has been given a whole new identity to take it into the future.
This page A pair of Moroso ‘Redondo’ armchairs and an Objekto ‘Paulistano’ chair from Hub in the study. Michele De Lucchi ‘First’ chair in the corner. ‘Margo’ mirror tray in Black by AYTM from Resident GP. Lenticular 2015 sculpture by Phillip Low from Pieces of Eight. Vitra ‘Cone’ clock by George Nelson from Space on the mantelpiece. Michael Anastassiades ‘Tube’ chandelier from Hub. Artwork is The Keeper by Heidi Yardley from Arthouse Gallery. Rug from Halcyon Lake. Opposite page ‘Blue Moon’ granite with an exfoliated nish from CDK Stone was laid in the entrance.
This page Wicker chairs and table bought in the 80s were restored. ‘Block’ velvet cushions in Pine from Southward Home. Serge Mouille lighttting from Cult. Opposite page Tan built-in bench in ‘Verona’ leather from InStyle Contemporary Leathers. Sculpture by Peter D Cole from Franque. Artwork is The Third Door by Rick Amor from Niagara Galleries. Patricia Urquiola ‘Bend’ sofa from Space. One Dances by Judith Wright from Sophie Gannon Gallery. Glass vessels by Peta Kruger from Pieces of Eight. Untitled #07 copper sculpture by Blakeborough + King from Criteria Collection. On table, Krista McRae sculpture, and ‘Breath’ aluminium and brass sculpture by Bridie Lunney, both from Pieces of Eight.
It’s hard to believe that not long ago this mock Georgian house was a puzzle of decorative architraves, dated grey-blue doors and detailed mouldings. While it had served its owners well for more than 30 years, the Melbourne residence was in need of an update. While architects Kathryn Robson and Chris Rak of Robson Rak Architects & Interior Designers acknowledged the building’s strong concrete structure, they sought to “reinvent it and give it a new identity for now, bringing it into 2016”.
While the clients entertained the idea of downsizing or even tearing the house down altogether, Robson Rak embraced the challenge of an entire refurbishment. Aided by Krongold Builders, it involved “inserting a new interior into the existing building”, says Kathryn. The brief was to “correct and omit the over-the-top faux styling of the 80s, modernise where necessary, and create a functional, dynamic home to see the clients well into the future”.
Existing adornments were peeled back to the bare bones and replaced with durable xtures and crisp, moody nishes with core materials comprising steel, granite and timber. “The limited palette creates a harmonious ow from room to room, and lets the new steel windows and doors create the texture and patterning to the interior fabric, similar to a Scottish tartan,” says Kathryn.
Doors and windows were removed, and the tiled Carrara marble entryway stripped and replaced with ‘Blue Moon’ granite with an exfoliated nish from CDK Stone. The same stone has been used in different formats throughout the house. “On the oor it has been used in a amed nish which is rough, and on the kitchen benchtops and bathroom vanities it has been used in a honed nish. The dynamic manipulation of the same material used with different nishes maintains a holistic palette, yet adds depth and character,” says Kathryn of the home’s “layered elegance”.
The kitchen was entirely redesigned, a custom island bench re-oriented to face the eating area with new, expansive, oor-to-ceiling steel-framed glass pivot doors overlooking a garden landscaped by Jack Merlo. Flourishing with herbs, a luscious g tree, seasonal pomegranates and fresh fruits, the orchardlike outdoors is a feast of homegrown earthly delights. Avid cooks, the clients’ new Lacanche oven from Manorhouse is now in regular use.
A built-in tan leather bench provides extra seating and a rectangular dining table has been replaced by a more casual round, timber-legged setting, an
existing piece the owners had re-stained. While new, big-ticket items were purchased, much pre-loved European furniture was given a new lease on life. There were unlikely – yet salvagable – pieces. “They [the clients] didn’t have a lot, but what they did have was exceptional. Things purchased in the past decade went, but the 80s pieces were re-thought,” says Kathryn. Old wicker furniture in the sitting room, bought more than two decades ago, was painted and reupholstered, while a bedroom chaise from the same period was re-covered in white textured wool. In the same way the formal dining table, very glossy before the deft hands of Chris and Kathryn reached it, was stripped of its thick resin coating and honed to reveal elegant, muted multi-marble.
The entryway is dramatic both for its expansive void and sculptural staircase which Chris calls his pride and joy. To the left of the foyer, two living rooms were originally separated by a study. Kathryn and Chris converted the three rooms into one large living area and a self-contained study decorated with dusty blue velvet Moroso ‘Redondo’ armchairs and a smoky-hued rug from Halcyon Lake. “By opening up large expanses the interior spaces ow seamlessly from one to another, aided by steel doors and simple design and decoration,” says Kathryn. Transitioning to Hakwood European oak ooring, both rooms are bathed in light from the double-height glass doors. Before the renovation, the property was exposed to the street, but the installation of a fence enabled a more expansive use of glass without forsaking privacy.
To the right of the foyer is the formal dining room which Chris and Kathryn gave a new opening to provide direct access to the kitchen and the new wing with a laundry, butler’s pantry, three-car garage and lift straight into the master bedroom. Upstairs, another four guestrooms regularly host a bevy of grandchildren. Despite the addition and internal changes, this house “is not vast for the sake of it”, says Chris. “The proportions are generous without it being a palace.” With its mature shell and reimagined core, this house is an old soul with a new heart. Just the perfect balance.
This page The marble dining table was the owners’ original piece that the architects restored. Muuto ‘Cover’ chairs from Living Edge. Striped vase by Angela Brennan from Niagara Galleries. Brass sculpture by Anna Varendor from Hub. Vanessa Lucas vase from Potier. Opposite page, clockwise from top le The round table in the family dining area was an existing piece that was re-stained. ‘NBC’ chairs by Apato. Artwork is The Third Door by Rick Amor. Peter D Cole sculpture from Franque. Zen Garden 9 by Kevin Lincoln from Niagara Galleries hangs above the dining room replace. A Jerey Smart painting above the Lacanche stove in the kitchen. Apparatus ‘Shift’ vase from Criteria Collection. B&B Italia ‘Lys’ candleholders from Space. “THE DYNAMIC MANIPUL ATIO N OF THE SAME MATER IAL USED I N DIFF ER E NT F INI S H E S ... A DDS D EP T H A N D CHAR AC TER.”
MUCH PRE LOVED EUROPE AN FURNITURE WAS GIVEN A NE W LE A SE ON L I F E . “ T H E
C L I E N T S D I D N’ T HAVE A L OT, B U T WHAT THE Y DID HAVE WA S E XCEP TI ON A L.” This page A Camie Lyons sculpture from Scott Livesey Galleries sits on a cabinet bought in the 80s in the entryway. Opposite page Vintage 70s chaise and ottoman were re-covered in textured wool. ‘Kraft’ oor lamp from Nice Home. Linen curtains from In Vogue Blinds. Bailey bedlinen and throw.
» After toying with the idea of downsizing or demolishing their home of 30 years, these owners decided on a di erent tack – complete refurbishment, with the assistance of architects Robson Rak. » The architects essentially inserted a new home into the old shell, erasing all the faux nishes of the 80s. » Doors and windows were replaced with new steel versions, European oak ooring laid, and some existing furniture revamped as well as a range of new pieces chosen. » Now the ow is improved between rooms and indoors and out, and the limited materials palette creates harmony. » Keen cooks, the owners are relishing the ready access to their newly landscaped garden with its abundance of herbs and fruit trees.
For more go to robsonrak.com.au.