Erskine House by Kennedy Nolan

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    The Erskine House by Kennedy Nolan is a substantial Victorian family home which is redefined and unified through a multi-faceted approach.

    Award-winning architects Kennedy Nolan approached the transformation of a gracious family home in Melbourne from a number of different angles. They saw their principal job as being to ‘make sense’ of the Victorian dwelling as a single entity, unifying the house visually by making a connection between disparate design expressions; high Victorian, high eighties and pragmatic spatial extensions that had been undertaken through the course of the home’s life.

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    The kitchen features the Applique de Marseille wall sconces by Le Corbusier for Nemo and Ridge vases by Studio Kaksikko for muuto on the shelf nearby. Brass vola tapware references the joinery handles and Nebulae pendant lights from Ross Gardam above the dining table. The dining area features a LIQUEUR dining table by Didier and No. B9 Le Corbusier chairs from Thonet.

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    “We started with a colour palette which defined a particular mood – cool and quiet, but with some intensity and playfulness…”

    – Kennedy Nolan founding director Patrick Kennedy

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    The design team’s mandate involved wrangling the plan of the home’s well-proportioned rooms to discipline the various parts into zones; a parents’ zone, a children’s zone and social space for everyone to gather. Kennedy Nolan’s problem- solving approach came into play in the distinctive blue living room where the original room with its low ceiling and enclosed feeling made way for increased height by borrowing from unused parts from the first floor and opening it up to the outside with new windows.

    This same approach saw them carve out space to create the ‘RAP’ – the raised activity platform; an idea derived from the imagination of the client, with an upholstered cocoon for games and sleepovers.

    This intensity is seen in the bold coral red used in the custom-designed shelving in the study, forming part of the complex tertiary colours used to reflect the dignity and scale of the beautiful Victorian proportions of the room. The response to the client’s brief also resulted in the distinctive Pierre Frey Shaman wallpaper in the front sitting room, which easily struck a chord with all parties, proposing itself as a mural, pictorial or even evocative of portraits which may hang on a wall.

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    Much of the furniture was specified for the project, including the Arflex ‘Strips’ sofa and John Bastiras Design coffee table. The extensive use of velvet was also specified because of the way it projects colour, giving a very dense and nuanced sense of hue, working in with the complex palette that Kennedy Nolan were pursuing.

    There was also an inherent need to create cohesion between the home’s interior and exterior, where the green hues of a new garden are offset by an outdoor area in stone crazy paving and the large chimney of the substantial fireplace. A wall of floor to ceiling glass allows a tangible connection from inside to out with a mutual exchange of light and colour between them.

    The home’s palette, combined with an emphasis on textured materials, playful platonic shapes and a disciplined, layered approach to furniture and lighting ensures the various elements of the house now feel like parts of a single expression.

    Kennedy Nolan has created a family house which is liveable, light, connected to nature, and is ultimately a sophisticated setting for playful adults and serious children.

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    Warm nostalgia pervades the living space, with the electric velvet mustard Strips sofas by Cini Boeri for Arflex, rattan armchair from Feelgood Designs and 9602 floor lamp by Paavo Tynell for GUBI. The Paloma coffee table by Sarah Ellison features at the centre with a Caleb Shea sculpture, on top of the hand-tufted Blossom rug by Annie Georgeson from Designer Rugs. The Nebulae wall lights by Ross Gardam and artwork by Valerie Sparks feature on the Duck Egg walls.

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    The formal living space is brought to life by the Pierre Frey Shaman wallpaper from Milgate, matched with the forest green velvet Cleo armchairs from Jardan and PARE floor lamp 02 by Douglas & Bec.

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