Pleas­ing rhythm to this stylishly un­der­stated house.

Belle - - Melbourne Home -

Rhythm is a word in­te­rior de­signer Dy­lan Far­rell of­ten uses when he re­lates the story of this house in in­ner Mel­bourne. The ground-floor rooms, their pal­ettes al­ter­nat­ing in black and white, are like notes on a piano, their ebb and flow cre­at­ing a har­mo­nious unity. “It’s the assem­bly of sim­ple ideas, one note at a time into a com­plex song,” he says. “It’s not showy, just sub­tle things mak­ing an im­pact­ful whole.”

He first sighted the six-bed­room, three-level house when the own­ers Sarah Lew and her part­ner bought it back in 2015. Its ex­te­rior was a modernist take on Ital­ianate style, the rear grandly boast­ing three tiers of con­crete colon­nades. Sarah was drawn to the home’s “cap­ti­vat­ing scale, sym­me­try and nat­u­ral light”.

Re­flect­ing the clas­si­cal ref­er­ences, the bones were solid, but the ex­e­cu­tion left it cold and un­wel­com­ing. There was no flow from one room to the next, says Dy­lan. And, while the work­man­ship was undis­puted, the house lacked attention to vis­ual de­tail. Bulky mar­ble skirt­ings may have given it grav­i­tas but para­dox­i­cally, the door­ways were with­out the ar­chi­traves to bal­ance them, so were sim­ply open­ings in walls. And a hall­way run­ning from the en­try to the rear with the rooms off each side was “like a bowl­ing al­ley”.

Dy­lan’s brief, he says, was “to make the house warmer and more invit­ing, with hand-ap­plied dark fin­ishes and warm timbers cre­at­ing a sense of in­ti­macy”. And to add move­ment to the static spa­ces. Sarah adds, “My vi­sion was for a clas­sic, con­tem­po­rary home with a chic Parisian modern in­flu­ence. It had to re­main time­less and have an un­der­stated el­e­gance. Prac­ti­cal­ity and us­abil­ity were also key. We didn’t want a home that looked too pris­tine to live in.”

Draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from French and Bel­gian in­te­ri­ors, Dy­lan has crafted a home for the ‘fash­ion-for­ward’ cou­ple and her two daugh­ters that’s stylishly un­der­stated, yet highly func­tional. He cites Chris­tian Li­ai­gre – Li­ai­gre pieces fea­ture in the liv­ing area – and Joseph Di­rand as in­flu­ences, and de­scribes the re­sult as merg­ing “re­laxed, Bel­gian-farm­house rus­tic with a bustling ur­ban edgi­ness”.

Strip­ping the house of its fin­ishes, he left the floor­plan broadly in­tact. He moved a wall in the kitchen and opened up the hall­way, flank­ing it with glass-pan­elled steel dou­ble doors for a sense of sep­a­ra­tion and flow. “I wanted to make the down­stairs a draw for en­ter­tain­ing,” says Dy­lan. He cre­ated both a tro­phy kitchen and a roll-your-sleeves-up ver­sion be­side it, to­gether with a sit-down wine cel­lar on the lower level where there was once just a bar. Be­cause the clients did not want a for­mal din­ing room, Dy­lan cre­ated a cock­tail lounge op­po­site the for­mal liv­ing, of­fer­ing more flex­i­ble en­ter­tain­ing, con­sist­ing of a huge round ta­ble with four ex­ten­sion leaves.

Mean­while, he re­jigged the up­stairs bed­rooms, open­ing them up to cre­ate en­suites and dress­ing ar­eas, to­gether with a sit­ting room.

He added tim­ber head­ers to the in­ter­nal doors to give them a more hu­man, in­ti­mate scale. The doors, some piv­ot­ing, some hinged, are in steel, en­sur­ing slim el­e­gant pro­files be­fit­ting the Euro­pean aes­thetic. Their glass pan­els “men­tally close off spa­ces, but not phys­i­cally. They block them off, but you keep the air. As a re­sult, the re­la­tion­ship of the door­ways along the hall­way, once like a colon­nade, now feels rhyth­mic,” says Dy­lan.

Through­out, he in­serted ar­chi­traves around the door­ways to give them more im­pact, as well as cor­nices, pan­els and mould­ings, “where the rooms needed a lift”.

French and Bel­gian in­flu­ences pro­vide tonal, tai­lored sub­tlety, with brushed woods for warmth, rich blacks and greys, and white walls and stone for con­trast. Tex­ture adds de­tail and in­ter­est. The fin­ishes pal­ette in­cludes sand­stone, mar­ble, waxed black stucco and French oak floors in a her­ring­bone pat­tern brushed to look old.

Like semi­tones on a key­board, the re­sults are highly nu­anced. At first glance, the in­for­mal liv­ing room looks monochro­matic, says Dy­lan, but white, navy, beige, brown, sil­ver, grey and black adorn waxed linen, tex­tured linen and vel­vet on the so­fas and their cush­ions. Adding to the dec­o­ra­tive lay­ers, that room fea­tures tim­ber­framed Louis chairs cov­ered in caramel leather, a mar­ble cof­fee ta­ble with legs in ebonised tim­ber and a rab­bit-skin rug, all on an aged tim­ber floor, while a smoked mir­ror and etched glass vases add so­phis­ti­ca­tion, as does a metal side ta­ble. The lime­stone Bel­gian farm­house-style fire­place, mean­while, hints back at the rus­tic.

While these walls are painted white, black waxed stucco fin­ishes in other rooms, such as the study, kitchen and pow­der room, cre­ate chic coun­ter­points. “There are no black rooms next to each other to cre­ate a rhythm,” says Dy­lan. “Sarah wanted sub­tlety in form and colour, with no dra­matic mo­ments – it was all about shift­ing tones, tex­ture and sheen. I usu­ally like to use curve balls of sur­prise colour, but she took an ac­tive role and drew me back when she thought it was over-ex­pres­sive.

“There’s a sense of re­served­ness, a serene­ness and a quiet­ness, with a high level of crafts­man­ship and a low level of show­man­ship. It’s all done sen­si­bly, but with a high-end sen­si­bil­ity.” In short, it’s a house that con­fi­dently and stylishly moves to its own sub­tle beat. #

For more go to dy­lan­far­

This page Out­door pots cus­tomised by Dy­lan Far­rell De­sign and planted by Paul Ban­gay. Tekna Nau­tic wall lights from Tig­ger Hall De­sign. New steel doors de­signed by Dy­lan Far­rell and fab­ri­cated by Fido Projects and Steel Win­dow De­sign. Op­po­site page Justin

This page In the cock­tail lounge, sofa from Chris­tian Li­ai­gre. Guaxs glass­ware from Con­ley & Co. Cus­tom ex­tend­able din­ing ta­ble by Dy­lan Far­rell De­sign. Art­work by Scott Rich­ler. Op­po­site page, from top left In the family room, cus­tom smoked mir­ror by Dyl

This page In the study, Tekna Nau­tic pen­dant from Tig­ger Hall De­sign. Art­work by John Olsen. Stools cus­tom made by Bolier through Cavit & Co. Sofa re­uphol­stered in fab­rics from Unique Fab­rics, West­bury Tex­tiles and Jean de Merry. Op­po­site page In the livi

These pages, clock­wise from above In the main bed­room, cus­tom bench by Dy­lan Far­rell De­sign in hide by Stu­dioart from Mil­gate. Cur­tains by Colleve. Da­vide Bal­liano art­work from Luce Gallery, Italy. Her­mès throw. Silk rug from White­cliffe Im­ports. Stat­u­ari

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