Doherty Design Studio was engaged to breath new life in this four-level converted 1930s church. The residence forms half of the building and is part of a larger residential complex redeveloped some 20 years ago. The home has since undergone minor alterations at the hands of various owners.
The brief centered on Doherty Design Studio creating a modern sophisticated interior with timeless appeal. Integral was good spatial flow, and more natural light– the home needed to be more usable and friendly for a family of five. An outdoor bathing experience was high on the owners’ wish list.
The upgrade delivered strikes a balanced, well considered approach to creating a new pared back aesthetic while respecting the home’s heritage. Underpinning the look and feel is the concept of restraint and refinement.
The design of each room is focused on its relationship to the 3 slender stained glass windows, spanning 3 floors high. Surrounding the 3 level void on all levels are custom white-steel pivot windows, allowing almost un-interrupted views to the stained glass windows, and also allowing cross-ventilation throughout the floors.
Minimalist colour and material palettes were chosen, with an emphasis on the traditional – marble, brass, aged bronze, terrazzo, ceramic tiles, polished plaster – they work together in beautiful harmony.
The base palette of white and pale grey ensures a lightness throughout the spaces while visually expanding spaces. Olive and white are treated as contrasting neutrals to complement the stained glass window and exposed timber beams. Dark green carpet also ties in with the heavier traditional pieces of the owners’ furniture.
In the kitchen, custom joinery surpass expectations of a functional work space to deliver a sophisticated statement of gently curved shapes, brass strip detailing, mirror, marble and tiled finishes. Views of the stained glass window are visible in the mirrored splashback .
On level one, custom joinery in the study features colour blocking using contrasting green and white – leather/brass door handles are fitting embellishments. A custom white-steel framed pivoting window with a fixed panel at the bottom opens out in front of built-in desk. This detail provides privacy from below, promotes airflow and light as well as visual connection into the void and stained glass windows.
A replacement wall between the study and the newly created walk-in dressing room (previously a bedroom) exposes the original timber arch within the study space.
In the master bedroom polished plaster surfaces add a sense of luxe and tradition while a curved ceiling detail was employed to distract from a heavy beam that needed to remain. Other aesthetic touches include a custom designed bed base and contemporary wall lights (both echo curved shapes seen throughout).
The existing ensuite underwent a total refurbishment, and a small second bedroom on the same level was sacrificed to provide the owners with much needed storage via a dedicated, fully fitted walk-in dressing room.
The unconventional use of the existing outdoor walled terrace, now transformed into a luxurious bathing zone sits peacefully next to the stained glass windows. The stone oval bath also plays up curves – hammered terrazzo paving, soft grey walls and a tiled bench add textural beauty.
On the third floor the two bedrooms were revamped with new skylights in pitch of the roof. The original bathroom located between the rooms was removed and the area recreated to provide each room with identical joinery. The large size of the bedroom meant it could be downsized and used to create a generous family bathroom. Conceived to be elegant room, the bathroom has a long streamlined olive green vanity, large expanses of mirror and a full height textured glass wall. Reflective surfaces interact and play with light source from the skylight and void, as well as reflections from the stained glass windows.
A contemporary aged-bronze chandelier, custom designed by Christopher Boots in the void secures its place as stunning focal point of the interior. Another point of interest is the original glass balustrade in the stairwell. It needed to conform to building regulation height; the transparency of the glass worked well and so was repeated (frameless) on the stair landing.
Carpets were removed from the stairs to lighten the stairwell and replaced in the bedrooms for warmth. New timber oak flooring was used and the original parquetry flooring retained and repolished. A long marble step in the entry foyer and contemporary wall lighting further illustrates the difference small but important design gestures can make to the look and feel of a space.
A key component of this home is the luxury of colour already within the architecture, the glow from the stained glass windows allowing differing intensities depending on the position of the sun. Calmness is an overriding feeling within this home.