Bisected by a hallway so broad it could almost double as a driveway, Amanda York’s four-bedroom Georgian house seamlessly blends period features with stunning interior design.
“We were looking for something with a sense of place and history, something we could bring our own personal style to as well,” she says of the decision to settle in historic Battery Point.
Amanda and husband Campbell York, a car salesman, had been looking for the right place for months. “It took us a long time to find the right place. Quality of space is really important. For me that means volume and light.”
They also wanted a heritage property, though such properties aren’t typically characterised by abundant natural light.
“I believe heritage homes should show their wrinkles,” Amanda says. “That’s their history, that’s how we know they’re old. If you don’t like that stuff you might as well buy a faux Victorian!”
Amanda — who has worked as an interior designer for clients such as Perth’s Optus Stadium, Wesfarmers and WMC, and is working with Tasmanian architecture practice Cumulus Studio — was so excited about the prospect of her new home that she had measured up and planned the interior of the whole house before they moved in.
“I love the front step. I love how worn it is,” Amanda says of one of her favourite features. “In heritage homes it’s often the case that you have lots of detail at the front of the house, but the further you get in to the house the more functional and plain it gets.”
That’s certainly the case here, but the pendant lights in the hallway draped in black netting point to the playful contemporary style throughout.
“I just felt like the hallway needed a bit of drama,” Amanda says. “Hallways are transition spaces so they are good places for a little fun, and the netting is easy to swap out when I want to mix things up. Best of all, the netting creates shadows when the lights are on.”
The house was a blank canvas when they moved in, Amanda says, but she notes “architecture is a vessel. In order to do good work you need good bones”.
The four bedroom home definitely has good bones, though the high ceilings present particular challenges. Amanda has addressed this with lighting. “A mix of lighting options — uplights, downlights and dimmable — allow you to create mood,” she says.
The high ceilings are made smaller — more domestic — with the use of standing lamps and low hanging pendants.
The interior design of the bedrooms in particular is stunning. “Orientation of the bed is really important,” Amanda says. “I like to view the bed from the foot because it gives a sense of grandeur. The room’s orientation is also important. Ideally the bedroom should be south facing, with the living rooms north facing. That way you wake up with morning light, and the room remains cool throughout the day.”
The contemporary kitchen out the back is flooded with natural light courtesy of a large landscape window and small sun room extension. An iconic Alessi kettle and juice press grace the bench; items as beautiful as they are functional.
Throughout the house are countless other examples of iconic design: Pierre Paulin’s orange slice armchairs for Artifort; Philippe Starck’s ghost bar stools for Kartell; and Charles and Ray Eames’ eiffel chairs for Vitra.
These are all originals, too. “I don’t like fakes, it’s not sustainable for the design industry,” Amanda says. “You only have to pay a little bit more for the original, and you can tell the difference between originals and copies when you sit in the chair and feel the design that has gone into the comfort and support of the seat.”
For her first Tasmanian job designing new accommodation for Launceston’s Stillwater Restaurant, Amanda must balance heritage texture and contemporary luxury. “My philosophy is less is more; the heritage fabrics are so rich and beautiful,” she says. “I’ve got great bones to work with in those old mills. It’s going to be a beautiful marriage between food and accommodation.”