Belle - - Melbourne Home -

While hand­some and well-dressed now, it wasn’t al­ways so for this stately home in Mel­bourne’s leafy sub­urbs. The 1880s prop­erty is but one in a her­itage-heavy street un­der­go­ing beau­ti­fully bal­anced preser­va­tions that du­ti­fully hon­our the past while sen­si­tively bring­ing func­tion­al­ity and in­ter­nal aes­thet­ics up to the present. Many have had ad hoc re­fur­bish­ments and min­i­mal up­dates (or none at all) so they tend to at­tract buy­ers with op­ti­mism and fore­sight as well as re­spect.

The own­ers of this res­i­dence ad­mit to ini­tial reser­va­tions, con­cerned with a pine-heavy 1980s ren­o­va­tion and seem­ingly end­less coats of paint in an odd as­sort­ment of her­itage colours. It was, how­ever, beau­ti­fully pro­por­tioned with ro­bust bones so the brief, says de­signer Fiona Lynch was, af­ter all, fairly sim­ple: “To make it a re­ally beau­ti­ful home to live in”.

With its pati­nated ex­te­rior, weighty front door and stained­glass win­dows, its fea­tures are grand and hardy yet its re- t qui­etly el­e­gant and well-groomed. It’s a ne bal­ance be­tween the past and present. Aside from widen­ing the hall­way, only min­i­mal struc­tural in­ter­ven­tion was re­quired so the trans­for­ma­tion was swift. Fiona says es­tab­lish­ing a unique tonal pal­ette was para­mount and that “the client was en­cour­ag­ing of our ex­plo­ration of colour so we took an evo­lu­tion­ary ap­proach from room to room. Soft, earthy clay in the lounge melds into rusty brown in the ad­ja­cent study through to a din­ing room swathed in strik­ing blue.” In this

room, the most dra­matic in the house, to­bacco-coloured vel­vet cur­tains drape from sky-high ceil­ings and a spindly vin­tage pen­dant hangs over a gen­er­ous ta­ble fringed by Carl Hansen & Son ‘Wish­bone’ chairs. Rich and so­phis­ti­cated, it’s an up­dated re t of the tra­di­tional for­mal din­ing room that’s still avidly used by the own­ers who work in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try.

Used on a daily ba­sis is the smaller fam­ily din­ing area out tted with a pink-veined stone din­ing ta­ble and MAP ‘Rib’ chairs. Perched in a light- lled al­cove, its pitched roof has been re­tained, al­beit with a fresh up­date by way of breezy pale cur­tains and new black win­dow frames look­ing out onto lush green­ery.

Of beau­ti­ful value and in won­der­ful con­di­tion, pe­riod fea­tures such as the orig­i­nal mar­ble re­places and cor­nices were re­tained where pos­si­ble. Mod­erni­sa­tion came by way of fur­ni­ture and art, an im­por­tant fac­tor in “ready­ing the home for its con­tem­po­rary chap­ter”, says Fiona. A work from Howard Arkley’s vivid Sub­ur­ban Series sits above the newly re ned re­place in the ca­sual liv­ing area, while Mike Parr’s large red ox­ide and char­coal piece hangs be­hind the con­trast­ing white ‘Ne­owall’ sofa from Liv­ing Di­vani in the sit­ting room.

Light­ing is clas­sic, with pieces like Castiglioni’s 1967 ‘Snoopy’ lamp for Flos, Serge Mouille’s wall-mounted ‘Ap­plique’ lamps and Louis Poulsen’s ‘AJ’ oor lamp pep­pered through­out. Says Fiona, “De­spite their con­tem­po­rary aes­thetic, the in­ter­ven­tion of these iconic pieces is in har­mony with the home’s his­toric char­ac­ter, bound by a time­less rev­er­ence for ma­te­ri­al­ity and pro­por­tion.” #

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