‘Canterbury’ House by interior designerNina Provan has emerged as a manifestation of a highly-evolved balancing act. The designer has beautifully considered its design, the joie de vivre of its owners and the refined integration of a contemporary relevance upon the architectural backdrop of the 19th Century.
Nina Provan’s design portfolio is distinguished as much by a sense of gentle restraint as by moments of bold ingenuity. This is expressed through engagingly tactile qualities and artworks that reflect the personalities of those who reside in the homes she realises. These intentions, when instilled upon the period charm of ‘Canterbury’ in Melbourne’s Toorak, steer the home’s stately Victorian architecture into a whole new contemporary essence. Nina’s intervention has allowed it to evolve past its original domestic inclinations to emerge as a stunningly resilient home of extraordinary charm.
The residence’s traditional exterior, which retains the patterned tiles and iron lacework of its 19th-century era, is resurrected by contemporary landscaping and a clean palette. This monochrome entrance alludes to the possibility for further historical and contemporary fusion inside.
Artwork features prominently throughout the house. The living room features a canvas by Hector Burton and David Umemoto sculpture and the Hubble Bubble Light for Moooi.
The Y Chandelier by Douglas and Bec introduces contemporary charm to the period details of the home’s hallway.
The owners are two medical professionals who moved from a nearby apartment to the single-family home in 2016 when they began planning a family. When they purchased the home, it already exuded a beautifully distilled character. The changes that would ultimately nudge it into perfection needed to be facilitated gently and with meticulous finesse. Nina’s approach to the design and schematics of the home has achieved just that.
Nina fine-tuned the existing floor plan to better fit the specifics of its current owners. A home office at the rear of the house has been soundproofed to optimise privacy and quiet, while the creation of a full master suite forged from a previously awkward collection of ensuite and robe spaces, heightens the liveability of the home. Nina’s precise application of bespoke function has rendered the home with an overall quietude punctuated by arresting textures, furniture and artwork.
Bold artwork by Sally Gabori adds a layer to the hallway’s design aesthetic while the stillness of Derek Swalwell’s photograph of Eero Saarinen’s Miller House instill’s calm and bespoke accents.
True to the typical design of single-storey Victorian terrace residences, ‘Canterbury’ presents as a collection of bedrooms and bathrooms at the front of the home that systematically branch off a central hallway, opening up to a kitchen and living zone, separate family room and office at the rear.
The period architecture retains a sense of grand domesticity while the redressing of the home reinstates the historical beauty while sensitively tilting it into modern relevance. Furniture and lighting are distinguished by clean silhouettes and add depth and maturity to the home through the considered use of textures and materials. A custom carpet from Halcyon Lake, integrated into the living and hallway floor is the pièce de résistance, perfectly balanced by the window treatments and ornate plasterwork throughout the home.
‘Canterbury’ has undergone a graceful reawakening that breathes fresh life into its spacious rooms. Nina’s tempered intervention, anchored by the owner’s articulated aspirations, realises the potential for another century of ‘Canterbury’ that appeals to today’s expectations on luxurious liveability. It illuminates the success of period homes for contemporary lifestyles alongside the transformative power of furniture, artwork and texture. Ultimately though, its success lies in the mellow waxing and waning of its design journey which allowed for a truly intuitive response to both the owner’s wishes and the home’s genteel bones.