Australian design is brilliant. We are not a country steeped in ancient traditions and that means we are free to mix and match styles of architecture and interiors to suit ourselves. In other words, Australian design isn't about following rules. It's about making up new ones and forging an individual style.
Stephen Crafti's Apartment
Melbourne writer Steven Crafti's home was originally built as office space in 1902 by Architect Nahum Barnet. The entire building was renovated into apartments over 3 years ago by Ivan Rijavec.
- What feel did you want for your apartment?
My apartment in the heart of the CBD but it’s a sanctuary of space, light and quiet high above the bustling metropolis. The soaring 5m ceilings and large windows flood the space with natural bright light. The architect, Nahum Barnet, originally built it as office space in 1902. It is distinctly Art Noveau in style and is now listed with the National Trust.
- Where do your contemporary furnishings come from?
These dot the open plan main living space and add an injection of colour into the whiteness. The dining chairs and table are lightness and air and allow them to float in the space.
- Plaster Feature Wall
We had originally thought to remove the large curved plaster wall in the main room but it’s really too strong in the space. It’s a feature in itself and we didn’t want to adorn it. We have however added a ball floor lamp. At night it creates a soft forest of lines on the wall.
- Why did you keep furniture from your last house?
The interior of our last house was 1950’s in style. We’ve kept a few old relics which I think work really well in this modern apartment. For example, the Zuref buffet and the Featherston chair and George Nelson clock are all sentimental reminders.
John Henry’s Country House
This house is essentially an extremely large corrugated iron shed, set on a north-south, 15 degree sloping block overlooking a leafy gully. Research, where the house is located, is a small artist community about an hour from Melbourne CBD, offering those who live there a quiet life away from the hustle and bustle of the inner city.
- What is the inspiration for this house? How was it built?
Architect John Henry and his partner Deb Ganderton had no luck finding a home they liked in Melbourne so decided that as long as they could commute easily enough, they would build a home outside the city. They wanted a warehouse style home and used a (Australian made) farm shed kit make of steel portal frames and corrugated iron. It was a very cost effective method.
- How does the house relate to the environment?
Every space in the house opens onto an internal garden consisting of some dwarf eucalyptus tees, creeping vines and a pond complete with goldfish. The garden was designed by Sam Cox, protégé of the late Gordon Ford and was established to ensure the dialogue between the steel of the house and the bush setting.
- Why do you like this house?
The house is modeled on a Robin Boyd house designed for Grant and Mary Featherston. It also take inspiration from American architect Paul Rudolph. It’s modeled on old 1960’s architecture but very much feels like a house of the future. The design is ingenious for example the central unit in the kitchen can be pushed to the side when larger groups come over.
- What is the most exciting room in the house?
It’s the upstairs bathroom where the shower, sink and toilet are against one wall that directly faces the bed. But they’re a respectable distance away from it! The shower is based on the Eltham brush where the shower rose extends from a mirrored cabinet wall.