by Neometro

An Extended Brief

Architecture - by Stephen Crafti

Interior designer Mardi Doherty was completely taken aback when she opened the front gate of a substantial Edwardian house in Ivanhoe. Featuring a wide frontage with neighbouring properties at arm’s length, the Ivanhoe house could have easily been found in the country. Spread over 1200 square metres, and sloping from the street, the three-level timber home was last renovated in the 1990s.

Photo: Derek Swalwell

“Initially our clients, a couple with two children, just wanted us to rework the 1990s kitchen,” says Doherty, director of Doherty Design Studio. However, it was only when Doherty inspected the entire house that she realised the project required considerably more. The laundry, for example, occupied one of the prime locations in the home (orientated to the east and looking onto the garden), while the kitchen and dining areas, located in the centre, were both internalised with minimal natural light. “The hierarchy of spaces didn’t make sense. Even the original entrance and hallway wasn’t used the way it was intended,” says Doherty, recalling the way the owners previously had to walk through the living room to reach the kitchen.

Photo: Derek Swalwell

A number of other rooms also punched ‘well below their weight’ with the bathrooms lacking both natural light and having fairly rudimentary finishes. Hence, what started out as a kitchen renovation extended to ‘touching’ almost every room.

The kitchen and laundry exchanged locations, with the kitchen moved to the eastern elevation and the laundry internalised in the centre. The formal dining area, previously enclosed, was repositioned next to the kitchen, with the adjoining walls reduced in width to provide a sense of fluidity. The kitchen lost its Caesarstone benches and laminate cupboards. It now features marble benches and an island bench wrapped in marble. Two-pack painted joinery, complemented by a pale timber veneer cupboard, creates a contemporary streamlined feel. And to accentuate the natural light, Doherty included overhead cupboards, finished with bronze mirrors. “Our clients wanted a sense of ‘luxe’ in the place,” says Doherty, who also strategically placed bronze mirrors in other parts of the house.

Photo: Derek Swalwell

A bronze mirror, for example, was designed for the new joinery inside the front entrance. Designed as part of the joinery, which includes an ochre-coloured built-in cupboard for coats, there’s now a sense of arrival past the front door. Other joinery, such as the wenge-veneer ‘floating’ sideboard in the dining area, gives this space a contemporary edge. “We literally made subtle changes in most of the rooms,” says Doherty, pointing out the Memphis-inspired built-in desk in the study.

Photo: Derek Swalwell

One of the main rooms to receive a complete makeover was the ensuite to the main bedroom. While this bathroom was functional, it was almost too large in scale. “We felt that everything in the ensuite was on the perimeter, with the area in the middle simply a space that wasn’t really used,” says Doherty. A marble feature wall was inserted into this space, separating the egg-shaped free- standing bath from the curvaceous green-tiled shower behind. New joinery was also added to the ensuite and main bedroom.

Photo: Derek Swalwell

While new oak timber floors and bespoke joinery have given this early 20th century home a new lease of life, it now responds to the way the family want to live and entertain their friends. “Getting the spaces right is paramount. New curtains, a lick of paint and some considered joinery elevates a house several notches. But it’s the planning that needs to be addressed from the outset,” says Doherty, whose brief extended on the completion of this renovation. She’s now reworking the lowest level that contains the rumpus room that leads to the swimming pool. “When this is completed, you’ll see how the inside and out are fully intertwined,” adds Doherty.

Photo: Derek Swalwell

Doherty Design Studio can be contacted on 9805 2737


Search Open Journal

Subscribe to Open Journal:

Subscribe here

Connect with Open Journal: