VIN­TAGE remix

Ar­chi­tect Antonio Zani­novic’s retro re­vival of this Con­stan­tia home is a mas­ter­class in mid-cen­tury mod­ern


Let’s do this a bit dif­fer­ently and start with: what’s the take­away with this house?

So this house is on a large plot in Con­stan­tia but it doesn’t have par­tic­u­larly strong views. Rather, it’s about the green­ery, the large gar­den and the beau­ti­ful trees. There was al­ready an ex­ist­ing struc­ture that had un­der­gone sev­eral ren­o­va­tions so it had this weird mix of mid-cen­tury and mod­ern styles. The idea was to re­turn it to its mid­cen­tury ori­gin while also adding to it

an en­trance foyer and mu­sic room. Th­ese new ar­eas re­ally in­formed the over­all ar­chi­tec­ture.

Mu­sic rooms aren’t all that com­mon, what are the tech­ni­cal­i­ties be­hind de­sign­ing that?

The home­own­ers are avid col­lec­tors, and play­ers, of old records so the room re­ally was a key fea­ture to them. But this meant that there had to be sound in­su­la­tion, which ended up becoming a ma­jor de­sign fo­cal point in the form of a tim­ber ceil­ing.

‘this was a pre­med­i­tated trans­for­ma­tion based on the style of the house and that of the client’

Why the de­ci­sion to go back­wards rather than for­wards in terms of ar­chi­tec­tural style?

Be­cause the house had bones that spoke more to mid-cen­tury de­sign, such as the sloped roof, and that old­school feel­ing re­ally res­onated with it. and, of course, it hap­pened to work per­fectly with the style, and mu­sic taste, of the home­own­ers.

And the pro­lific use of nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als, the abun­dance of wood and stone, was that al­ready present?

That was ac­tu­ally part of the ren­o­va­tion. none of th­ese nat­u­ral

ma­te­ri­als were here to be­gin with and we de­cided to in­cor­po­rate the wal­nut floors, the tim­ber ceil­ings in the foyer and mu­sic room and, in the kitchen, ter­razzo floors that re­ally cham­pi­oned the mid-cen­tury style. What would you say was key to the suc­cess of this project?

The house was overly com­part­men­tal­ized, there was no flow. so what we did was ba­si­cally re­move walls to cre­ate an open plan be­tween the liv­ing ar­eas with enough pri­vacy and par­ti­tion­ing to stop it look­ing like a ware­house.

How does the re­freshed blueprint play out now?

The pub­lic rooms oc­cupy one level, which you en­ter from the drive­way. From the foyer, with its mas­sive sky­light, you im­me­di­ately ar­rive at the mu­sic room and the home­own­ers’ ex­ten­sive record col­lec­tion. From here you’re taken into the lounge-kitchen area, then the TV room and fi­nally the ter­race and pool. The bed­rooms are con­tained in a very clas­sic, sim­ple, two-storey build­ing that’s semi-at­tached to this sin­gle-storey el­e­ment, like an an­chor, at the back of the prop­erty.

‘We adapted the ar­chi­tec­ture to go with the in­te­ri­ors’

It’d be re­miss of me if I didn’t ask you about that concrete Cu­bist fea­ture on the ex­te­rior en­trance wall.

That’s a sculp­tural mu­ral by Lorenzo nas­sim­beni that proved to be the so­lu­tion to a real chal­lenge that we faced: how to cre­ate an en­trance that’s in­ter­est­ing and at the same time calm. There was a win­dow that was nec­es­sary to give light to a mud­room that is next to the garage that had all the prac­ti­cal­i­ties but, be­cause it’s the en­trance, we needed to make it spe­cial. Lorenzo’s work then leads you to the main en­trance. You re­ally bring this idea to the kitchen is­land, too.

Yes, it’s also a concrete 3d ob­ject.

Th­ese two things re­ally show how you can link parts of the house with con­sis­tent el­e­ments. It’s the house’s sig­na­ture.

The last time we spoke you said you didn’t find it nec­es­sary for there to be a di­rect co­he­sion be­tween ar­chi­tec­ture and decor, yet in this house that’s ex­actly the case.

To­tally, and not nec­es­sar­ily typ­i­cal of my work, this was a pre­med­i­tated trans­for­ma­tion based on the style of the house and that of the client, which was pri­mar­ily mid-cen­tury. You could say that we adapted the ar­chi­tec­ture to go with the in­te­ri­ors.

above ‘

brno’ chairs by mies van der rohe for knoll sur­round the din­ing room ta­ble. the draw­ing is by pa­trick caulfield and the rat­tan chairs are vin­tage arthur umanoff

left, from top

the sleek kitchen is­land was de­signed by antonio zani­novic; the leather so­fas in the lounge are from jo car­lin. vin­tage ce­ram­ics, light­ing and art com­plete the space

clock­wise, from top left

a bed by jo car­lin, tom dixon lights and hun­gry lion 8 by cameron plat­ter in the main bed­room; the home­own­ers are pas­sion­ate about mu­sic and have a des­ig­nated room filled With vinyls and the art­work from some of their favourite al­bums; a cus­tom sculp­ture by lorenzo nas­sim­beni adds in­ter­est to the en­trance of the house

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