Loch Avenue residence is a culmination of traditional and contemporary design, fused to create a continuous story in two distinct halves. An extension of the man and Shiba Inu (dog) who lives here, this project is bold, confident, textured and culturally influenced.
The home is situated in a quaint nook at the heart of Ballarat, a Victorian city renowned for its colonial-era heritage. The well-preserved architectural scene of Ballarat that encapsulates enormous historical value was a key consideration of this project, to ensure the facade would fit in place amongst neighbouring properties of the same original era. Verandahs mimicking traditional cast iron lace, subtle greys and simple shrubbery provided inspiration for designer lead Nicole, The Stylesmiths, to complete the front half of the house’s interior design. Careful choice of uncomplicated colours and restrained styling allowed the more structural elements of the home to shine, including the beautifully restored lead-light windows. Navy blues, crisp whites and small golden accents worked perfectly for this, hanging lighting fixtures also play tribute to the high ceilings of the Victorian era.
As the client’s design consultant, Nicole assisted with interior styling choices from start to finish, taking cues from the concurrent architectural development by Here Studio Architects, landscape design and the homeowners goals to find a balance that worked between vastly different elements. The design brief explained that there was to remain a clear divide between old and new – the renovated home needed an obvious disconnect that was still harmonious. The only consistent aspect was that both halves were to represent the client in personality, functionality and background. A challenge that was “creatively freeing,” according to Nicole.
Indisputable emotion has been accounted for at every perspective. Having been extremely well travelled and an acting CEO for a company based in Shanghai, this client wanted his love of Asain design to influence all decisions. This connection is made evident via the inclusion of his extensive Chinese collection of furniture, artwork and ornaments. These pieces are scattered around the home, alongside unobtrusive design choices chosen specifically to be complimentary. Eloquent pairing of existing components with updated features means no one item appears inappropriately positioned or mismatched – a delicate harmony to find in a modern eclectic home.
Walking through, one can find classical bedside tables, abstract wall art and ceramic trinkets such as the white elephant that lives on the coffee table. The blue side table in the entry is of simple Chinese design, celebrated by Chinoiserie patterned wallpaper that is also found in the library. Chosen as a controversial talking point for guests to admire, the busy wallpaper is neutralised by the broad Chinese console that sits below. The dark timber connects with and emphasises the bird-like shapes in deep navy, while the golden edges of the central mirror accentuate the shine of orientail pink hues. This is furthered in the golden curtains that drape either side of the window frames, their luxurious velvet texture marrying them with the armchairs in rich royal blue and neutral grey.
This Ballarat home has been designed as a calming sanctuary, exuding with opulence and ready for conversation. The particular placement of furniture pieces assists with the open flow that moves from one space to the next, and the many seating areas offer opportunity for dialogue between friends, family and pets. Utilising the structural levels, including the sunken recess that separates the kitchen from dining and lounge, individual living zones have been created taking on their own identity and purpose. A gorgeous glossy green and dominant in size, the fireplace is the undeniable hero of the backend of this home. As such, all surrounding elements need not compete but remain beautifully restrained. There is a masculine presence in the living room, with leather upholstery, wooden side tables and dark durable colours. Subtle floor rugs and lighting fixtures help to distinguish each zone, the delicate pendants hanging as functional pieces of art. Night time is when these accessories truly shine, meticulously angled to bounce light off the block colours and dance around the room.
Circular shapes complete the interior design, bringing an organic softness that juxtaposes the hard, angular surfaces. The dining table that showcases clean lines of mid-century design are offset by the accompanying rounded cocktail bar and mirror. In the library, polished wooden floorboards find warming layers in the circular rug that anchors the furniture, centering the point for intimate connection.