The opportunity to transform Joe and John’s Collingwood home with a seamless marriage of Industrial Warehouse and Minimalists styles was a sweet challenge I couldn’t resist.
The building was originally the Craig & Hales confectionery factory and was later bought out by one of the biggest Melbourne lolly manufacturers MacRobertsons and my starting point was to work within the architectural frame of the building – and to highlight it.
Joe and John’s chosen Industrial Warehouse and Minimalist styles have two distinctive personalities.
Minimalist styling started with the Bauhaus movement of the 1920s and 30s as a move away from the fussiness of the Victorian and Arts and Crafts movements. When incorporating minimalism into an interior, the key is to select just a few standout features and leave the shapes and surfaces do their work. The pieces you introduce should have a sculptural quality to them so they work equally as artworks and functional furnishings.
Industrial Warehouse takes its name from the New York design movement of the 1950s and 1960s that saw artists moving into old, disused warehouses and factories in undesirable boroughs and suburbs. Industrial style is identifiable by its expansive double ceiling heights, metal rafters or timber beams, exposed brick and concrete or timber floors. The look and feel of Industrial Warehouse is all about working with the raw elements within the space, which can sometimes be a very layered and rustic, so when mixing Industrial Warehouse with Minimalism the structure of the building had to be the hero.
The grand-scale brick wall in Joe and John’s home exerts a strong presence in the interior so I had to ease any newly-introduced materials into the space. I commissioned a timber craftsman to make a sleek TV cabinet that extended from pillar to pillar and floated along the wall. The wavy grain of the timber provides light relief to the wall and breaks up the strong linear pattern so the space feels unified.
I always like to give a nod to the history of these incredible buildings and I achieved this by finding some archive footage of the MacRobertsons factory back in its heyday and resizing it to cover the service doors of the storage and laundry. You can achieve the same effect on a less epic scale by hanging a gallery wall of pictures with black frames, or popping just one subtle framed picture somewhere low key like the powder room or bathroom.
The new wood-burning fireplace with exposed flu in Joe and John’s home adds to the industrial feel, linking the black in the old and new windows, and creating a central focus between the dining and lounge areas.
The monochromatic colour scheme is a major foundation for minimalism so I used this palette in the kitchen, the sleek Corian benchtop with its thin profile and molded sink lending the refinement of minimalism to the space and making the kitchen appear more like modern sculpture than functional cabinetry.
It was a fine balance to keep the palette simple and not introduce too many new colours while still making the link through from area to area within the interior. The only non-monochromatic colour I introduced was a hint of bronze in the reflective mirror that encases the range hood, and in the exposed feature bar.