Ballarat House by Kennedy Nolan

  • Ballarat House by Kennedy Nolan

    Kennedy Nolan’s rendition of a family home in Ballarat, Victoria epitomises comfort and warmth in a lakeside setting. 

    Melbourne-based architecture firm Kennedy Nolan took a sophisticated and considerate approach to designing a home for a family of four. Together, they worked closely with the clients and builders to cultivate a space that is in tune with its environment and conducive to family life. Kennedy Nolan also wanted to pivot away from some of the more ‘grandiose’ houses along Ballarat’s lakefront, drawing them towards the cosy and nostalgic 70s-inspired style that the home embodies. 

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    The dining space features the Lowe Furniture Atticus Dining Table, Thonet Hoffman Dining Chairs and a pendant custom-designed by Kennedy Nolan. Artwork by Caroline Denervaud.

    Occupying one of Ballarat’s sought-after lakeside sites, the clients wanted to showcase the home’s location while still maintaining a degree of privacy. “The design of this house was generated in response to the view, which was both a strength and a constraint,” Kennedy Nolan co-founder Patrick Kennedy says. The way the view continually evolves as light interacts with water and sky, Patrick says, is unparalleled. However, with this strength also came a challenge, whereby the home was left exposed to the road that wraps around the lake’s circumference.

    To overcome this challenge, the front of the house has been elevated by half a level to maximise views onto the lake and minimise views into the home. Additionally, the high grasses that have been planted in the garden berm serve a dual purpose: decoration and privacy. These design responses ensure that residents can enjoy both uninterrupted views of the lake and seclusion from passing cars and pedestrians. In this way, Patrick says that understanding the site was “the key to making a positive impact on our clients’ lives.”

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    One of the two living areas, featuring the De La Espada Sledge Chair, the Moda Piera Arancini floor lamp and the Tacchini Sesann sofa.

    In addition to managing the tension between lake views and privacy, Kennedy Nolan were also faced with Ballarat’s extreme climate challenge. The regional city’s bitter winters informed a large part of the design process and material selection. Comfort and warmth, as such, were ‘must-haves’.

    The stone fireplace is a dominant element of the house, Patrick says, “emphasising hearth and home”. Carpet floors and stone walls trap heat from the fireplace and allow it to permeate through the rest of the home. North-facing clerestory windows invite sunlight in, steeping the interior in a warm glow. The inclusion of two living areas – one intended to be more family-friendly, the other, more intimate – also makes the home an ideal spot for entertaining during the colder months.

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    Simone Karras vessels from Pepite.

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    The home reveals a selection of carefully curated furniture, including the Massproductions Crown Lounge Chair.

    Functionality and consistency were also ‘must-haves’ when designing this Ballarat residence. Segregation of private and communal spaces was essential to achieving a functional family home. Stepping inside, you are introduced to two home offices first, where the parents can easily disconnect themselves from the remainder of the house. The home then opens out into the communal zone, including the kitchen, dining and two living areas. Further into the house is the private family zone, including two kids bedrooms, a bathroom and a master suite.  

    Kennedy Nolan have also made a conscious effort to ensure that the home’s interior corresponds with its architectural form. “We would feel that we had failed if we weren’t able to make a building where the architecture and interiors are indivisible, where there is no distinction in terms of sensibility and expression,” Patrick says. Continual references to nature especially – earthy tones, a stone fireplace, walls engulfed in vines – mark it as both acquainted with its surroundings and harmonious in its design. 

    The Ballarat House by Kennedy Nolan is a home fit for a family of four and fit for its location. As Patrick says, “the family will put down deep roots here, and the passages of time will burnish the house as the natural materials age and patinate.”

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    The outdoor entertaining area features the Grazia & Co Palm Springs Sunlounger.

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