Small-Space Ge­nius

In ex­pert hands, even the trick­i­est spa­ces can de­liver lovely, live­able re­sults. Here’s a case in point.

Australian House & Garden - - CONTENTS -

This Vic­to­rian Re­gency semi-de­tached home, fac­ing a wa­ter­front park on Syd­ney Har­bour, had been sub­jected to a 2000s ren­o­va­tion that stripped much of the char­ac­ter from its in­te­rior. The cur­rent own­ers called on in­te­rior de­signer An­drew Waller of Mr Waller (mr­ to re­in­state pe­riod de­tails, re­con­fig­ure the lay­out down­stairs and up, and dec­o­rate the home.


An­drew made clever use of this once awk­wardly po­si­tioned nook, turn­ing it into a char­ac­ter-filled, func­tional but­ler’s pantry with coun­try-cot­tage-style open shelv­ing that al­lows ev­ery­day table­ware and cook­ware items to be­come charm­ing dis­plays. The pantry ad­joins the win­dow­less kitchen (see #2), so An­drew in­stalled a glass pantry door for nat­u­ral light. Above the cup­boards in the kitchen proper (above, at right), glass-faced doors were added “to form a sense of depth and cre­ate an il­lu­sion of more win­dows”, says An­drew. The join­ery is painted in Du­lux Nat­u­ral White with a ‘brushed’ hand­painted fin­ish, and the flat cup­board knobs are from Tradco (


To cre­ate a bet­ter floor plan, the old din­ing area and kitchen swapped places. The ex­ist­ing fire­place re­cess was clev­erly re­pur­posed as a cook­ing al­cove hous­ing a Fisher & Paykel cooker, a neat idea given pol­ish with Car­rara mar­ble de­tail­ing that echoes the is­land bench­top. The for­mer chim­ney is now home to a range­hood, while the Franke goose­neck mixer and Zip fil­ter tap make a grace­ful pair­ing on the is­land.


An­drew flanked the cook­ing zone with cab­i­netry fea­tur­ing Am­s­ter­dam pull han­dles from Tradco that nod to the home’s her­itage. Other deft pe­riod touches are the ‘19th Cen­tury English Open­work’ pen­dants (this page and op­po­site), sourced from Restora­tion Hard­ware in the US (restora­tionhard­


Clever stor­age so­lu­tions through­out the home max­imise space and us­abil­ity. Wine racks built into the is­land bench and am­ple cab­i­netry en­sure the kitchen is highly func­tional. Else­where, cus­tom stor­age is used ef­fec­tively to dis­play books, house laun­dry ap­pli­ances and gen­er­ally add charm.


Flow is es­sen­tial in a suc­cess­ful in­te­rior scheme, says An­drew, to cre­ate a nar­ra­tive through­out the spa­ces. “I tend to de­sign in­te­ri­ors with a sub­tle sense of struc­ture,” he says. “I like to an­chor spa­ces with be­spoke join­ery and then layer with a cu­rated se­lec­tion of fur­ni­ture and dec­o­ra­tive el­e­ments.” You can see this re­solved ef­fect here in the calm­ing use of grey tex­tiles, such as the cus­tom cush­ions in Quer­cus & Co ‘Hal­cyon’ fab­rics in Ce­leste and Mouse Grey, the ‘Todd’ sofa and ‘Vit­to­ria’ chair from Con­tents In­ter­na­tional De­sign (con­, and cus­tom cur­tains in a grey Car­lucci ‘Rosy’ linen fab­ric from Unique Fab­rics. A ‘Nordic Soli­taire’ wool rug from

The Rug Col­lec­tion an­chors the space.


Mak­ing an ap­pear­ance in sev­eral rooms is mar­ble, se­lected to link the grey and white tones of the scheme. In the front liv­ing area, shown above, a re­stored an­tique Car­rara mar­ble fire­place was sourced from Chip­pen­dale Restora­tions and paired with the strik­ing vin­tage fire­place in­sert from the orig­i­nal din­ing room. The jet-black iron links with other metal pieces in the home: cur­tain rails and fit­tings, Tradco door ar­chi­tec­ture, lantern-like pen­dant lights and ‘Li­ai­son’ nested side ta­bles with an an­tique brushed-gold fin­ish from Boyd Blue (boy­d­blue., and a ‘Par­ish’ lamp from Hamp­ton Home and Co. Dis­tressed tim­ber pieces add earthy charm, bal­anc­ing the sleeker in­clu­sions.


Draw­ing in and re­flect­ing light in the din­ing zone are a new fixed-panel cus­tom win­dow by

Steel Door (steel­ and a vin­tage win­dow-frame mir­ror from Le Forge. They form a hand­some back­drop and bring struc­ture to this cor­ner of the liv­ing space. The new ban­quette pro­vides comfy, space-ef­fi­cient seat­ing (the fab­ric is ‘Lau­sanne’ in­door/out­door ma­te­rial in Sil­ver from West­bury Tex­tiles; west­bury­tex­ The ‘20th Cen­tury Fac­tory Fil­a­ment’ glass cloche sconce from Restora­tion Hard­ware was ro­tated 180 de­grees and fit­ted up­side down.


On deep pro­file shelves, An­drew has cu­rated the own­ers’ pieces and some ad­di­tional wares – no­tably from Wa­ter Tiger, a com­pany that spe­cialises in Asian and Turk­ish dec­o­ra­tive items, in­clud­ing rus­tic urns, ves­sels, bas­kets and fig­urines. “We used a pre­dom­i­nantly neu­tral se­lec­tion with lay­ered tex­tures and ma­te­ri­als to link both built de­tails and fur­ni­ture,” says An­drew. In­door plants, two Rhip­salis from Gar­den Life, tum­ble from pots, loos­en­ing up the ar­range­ment and pro­vid­ing a vis­ual con­nec­tion to the ad­ja­cent park.


Books There is a trick to cre­at­ing vis­ually ap­peal­ing book dis­plays, says An­drew, who com­mis­sioned shelves to frame this win­dow, form­ing a de­light­ful ded­i­cated read­ing zone on a land­ing. The book nook (top left) is a ded­i­cated read­ing area, com­plete with a com­fort­able ‘Char­lie’ arm­chair from Globe West. Colour-block­ing books is a big styling no-no, he says. “We styled the book­shelves for the own­ers’ ev­ery­day use, po­si­tion­ing the books around type, size and colour to get just the right bal­ance. Se­lect dec­o­ra­tive pieces are dis­played be­tween the books – with the vis­ual weight of the books bal­anced, not bi­ased, to one side. It’s an edited/cu­rated look but not con­trived – these spa­ces have to feel a lit­tle or­ganic.” Art­works “Place­ment de­pends on the size, the num­ber of art­works and the in­ten­tion – how strong you want to present them within a space,” says An­drew. The viewer’s eye level is im­por­tant, he adds. The paint­ing at left, by Mered­ith Mar­sone, is beau­ti­fully matched with tonal dec­o­ra­tive pieces and ‘art for the floor’, a vin­tage patch­work overdyed rug.

Join­ery A util­i­ties area (above), lo­cated in an out­build­ing, shares the sub­tle colour scheme of the main house. Here, too, be­spoke join­ery comes into play, fram­ing a small but fully func­tional laun­dry. Bi­fold doors close to con­ceal it when not in use. In the con­nected home-of­fice area is a bar fridge, con­ve­nient when the owner is in work mode or wants to serve drinks in the gar­den area be­yond.


Loved, lived-in and not too staged is the way to seren­ity, says An­drew. In the main bed­room, the grey cur­tains found down­stairs are re­peated, while he fit­ted the bed with Sheri­dan linens – a mix of plains and pin­stripe – and a her­ring­bone throw from Inar­ti­san. Cush­ions in a rich, warm rust-coloured vel­vet with a linen re­verse ground the look. A cur­va­ceous lamp base catches the eye while the Im­pres­sion­ist-style art­work by Joanna Logue pro­vides an­other ‘win­dow’ to the out­doors.

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