Every so often, the principles shared across disciplines that cultivate a visual language — architecture, art, design — are accentuated and celebrated in a home, culminating in a sense of holistic refinement. Grange Residence by Conrad Architects rests in this space, capturing elegance and purity through an emphasis on space, light and proportion.
Having forged a reputation for merging characteristics of classic architecture with exacting contemporary aesthetics, Conrad Architects has instilled a considered evolution upon the streetscape of Toorak with Grange Residence.
Governed by council constraints that seek to retain and preserve the heritage narrative of the locale, Toorak’s built environment is ever-evolving through covert innovation. Grange Residence exemplifies this through a street presence that is enduring, measured and timelessly poised.
A split form of minimalist stone blocks make up Grange Residence’s facade, with each volume carefully incised with door and window openings merging deep reveals and chamfered window heads to emphasise a formal arrangement of sleek, vertical proportions. This symmetrical rhythm is continued inside, where navigation is informed by a central axis and an unfolding sequence of spaces counterbalanced by the sweeping sculptural form of a feature stairway soaring from the basement to the fourth floor.
From entry through a gatehouse into the sedate privacy of a walled garden area to the acid-etched stone blocks of the facade that flow into interior flooring, Grange Residence has been meticulously planned with sensorial engagement in mind. Each stage of navigation establishes an alliance between atmosphere and purpose. The moment of arrival signals a transition from public to private; the entryway is raised slightly to generate a sense of stepping up to a lookout. The cohesive dedication to a hero material intuitively draws movement fluidly through spaces that accentuate light, and the way it spills across the proportions of each room.
A nuanced fluidity underpinned by aesthetic continuity is evident from the entry foyer. Conrad Architects have intuitively drawn movement through the home’s central spine, across the outdoor terrace and infinity-edge pool, where panoramic views across the city are spectacularly revealed.
A further upper level and two lower levels are accessed via the stairway, emphasising material’s capacity for expression with its polished plaster lustre lit from a skylight above. The mind relaxes as the descent leads to the quiet sanctuary of the private bedroom spaces – each opening on to the landscape.
Stone is a touchstone in a home that leans into its expressive and textural qualities. Vagli marble unifies the neutral cool greys and warmer oak tones of walls, carpets, joinery and textiles from the kitchen to the primary suite and beyond. This evokes an air of refinement that exists beyond time and trend to refer instead back to the marrying of classic and contemporary that marks each of Conrad Architects’ projects.
Complimenting this is an interior aesthetic by the homeowner and designer Lauren Tarrant that effectively balances opulence and restraint to cultivate an elemental, pared-back ambience. Oak, brass and figured marble slabs introduce a further sense of movement, breathing life into the home through a tempering of geometric form and crisp detailing.
The austerity throughout Grange Residence is imbued with personality through occasional pops of colour in styling and artwork. These enhancements are a reminder of this being a place of nostalgic domesticity where the paraphernalia of a growing family will flow into and soften the strength of architecture, adorning it with the patina of life which marks the patterns of its inhabitants.
Grange Residence represents a compromise between many things. Its elegance carries a tangible strength, while its heritage gestures abide by intuitively contemporary living patterns. It is simultaneously exacting and expressive, geometric and sculptural, profoundly private yet infiltrated by light and breath-taking views of the city.