|Doherty Design Studio
Refined meets rustic: this contemporary two-level, three-bedroom home in country Victoria was designed and built for a young Melbourne family as their weekender and holiday retreat.
A local draftsperson was engaged to document the owners’ request for a country retreat created in a traditional farmhouse style. Doherty Design Studio was tasked with reconfiguring some of the spaces, designing the joinery and windows, specifying the external and internal finishes and selecting the soft furnishings, furniture and lights.
The home needed to be modest in scale and to express a Japanese sensibility. The latter was to reflect the many years one of the owners spent living and working in Japan and their love of the culture.
The solid granite form of the structure is complemented by an atmospheric pitched roof, and exposed rafters yet contrasted with a refined mix of materials and textures. The built form references the simple and exposed nature of the artisanal joinery and construction techniques traditionally found in Japanese homes. Exposed roof trusses and their junctions – clearly embellished by large, black fixing plates – are a key part of the home’s aesthetic detailing. Natural light is harnessed through large expanses of glass while skylights in the pitch of the roof enable a beautiful glow on the stone walls that surround the fireplace.
Integral to the brief was that the house should have a good connection to the outdoors and “a feeling of intimacy”. The owners are of the view that their getaway doesn’t need to be big to be beautiful. This sits neatly with their respect for the particularly Japanese philosophy of simple, efficient living and the clever use of small, well-ordered spaces.
The Studio’s approach was to create an interior that is restrained and pared back yet still enticingly layered. Custom joinery throughout is crucial; ensuring organisation, functionality and a place for everything.
A sophisticated palette of grey, navy, white and mustard provides a sense of intrigue as well as again paying homage to Japan. Moody hues of blue and grey contrast with the raw, natural materials, while hits of mustard connect with the warm yellow tones in the locally sourced granite.
The dining space has a marble-topped pedestal table and built-in banquette, both featuring white glass mosaic tiles. This purpose-designed nook is reminiscent of Japanese chabudai tables, where people are closely seated around tables with short pedestal legs. It serves as a reminder of intimate dinners with friends in Japan.
A point of difference in this home is the wash nook in the hallway. It, too, offers a nod to the Japanese bathing tradition of having bath and shower separate to the washbasin and toilet. A shower area sits beside the bath for the purpose of washing before bathing.
Another quirk of the home is the rectangular amber-glass panel set within the sliding door that leads from the kitchen to the back of the house. This idea alludes to Ranma panels used in Japanese interiors and set within or above doors to add character and create diffused light and shadow effects.
A spiral staircase leading to an open attic bedroom is a space-saving measure but also introduces an interesting circular steel structure that is a subtle presence against the dark-grey wall.
Continuity is achieved through the thoughtful repetition of colours, surfaces and materials. Timber panelling, bespoke joinery, concrete benchtops, terrazzo floors, hand-glazed tiles, glass mosaics, tan leather accents and bronze tapware sit together in beautiful harmony.
|D&A Leary Building Contractors